Managing COVID-19 Global Pandemic in Africa: The Nigeria Experience #Realnews2020Lecture
11 months ago | 15
GMD’s talking points as a discussant at the Realnews Magazine 8th Anniversary Lecture
Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari
I am immensely delighted to be with you here at this auspicious occasion, the 8th Anniversary Lecture of Realnews Magazine. I am even more honoured to have the opportunity to share NNPC’s perspective on the theme “Managing COVID-19 Global Pandemic in Africa: The Nigeria Experience.”
Before I take a deep dive into the topic, let me begin by extolling the virtues of the Nigerian Media for what it has stood for over the years: engendering responsible journalism; telling the truth to power, and above all, championing the cause of the common manfor the sake of public good. I am happy to know that these reasons were part of the reasons why Realnews Magazine asked us all to converge here.
It is no longer news that the world has been enveloped in a major health crisis as a result of the COVID 19, a pandemicfirst reported in China in December 2019. This development has not only caused a lot of shock across the business world, but has also led to unfortunate loss of thousands of lives. As we speak today, COVID-19has affected almost 48 million people in more than 200 countries with over 1m deaths so far.
Nigeria has not been left out of the pandemic with over 63 thousand cases confirmed with over 1,000 deaths. In NNPC, we were also significantly impacted as a number of staff were affected.
The Federal Government set up the Presidential Task Force headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) which in turn set up a multi-sectoral Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to coordinate response to the disease outbreak in Nigeria. As part of this effort, NCDC designated Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Isolation Centre Gwagwalada as COVID-19 treatment centres.
Experience from some advanced countries where COVID-19 transmission was raging showed that it easily overwhelms the public health systems and that government alone cannot provide all the resources required to confront the disease. And so, as a responsible corporate citizen, we quickly recognized the fact that we in this Industry needed to answer the PTF on COVID-19’s call for support to control the pandemic.
As NNPC, our Medical team conducted a needs assessment of the health sector and mapped out interventions to close identified gaps. The medical team came up with a list of critical medical equipment and consumables needed urgently to beef-up the nation’s response to the pandemic.
We galvanized companies operating in Nigeria Oil and Gas industry to set up and industry-wide initiative to provide support in kind to government for this purpose. This was hinged on three thematic support initiatives with donations coming from across the oil and gas value chain amounting to $30 million (N11 billion) to strengthen the country's collective resolve to contain the spread of the virus. The three thematic areas include Provision of medical consumables, Deployment of medical logistics and in-patient support system and Delivery of medical infrastructure.
These donations were outside the regular corporate social responsibility CSR initiative routinely deployed by the NNPC and its partners. All the commitments under the scheme were collected in kind through a clear, well established, and transparent governance framework.
For medical consumables, the intervention scaled up the provision of testing kits, medical protective equipment, face shields and laboratory scientific kits. For logistics and in-patient support system, ambulances, ventilators, respirators, and oxygen supply facilities were provided while makeshift intensive care facilities, ICU beds and state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratories were also provided.
At the onset of the pandemic only two health facilities (Infectious Disease Hospital IDH Yaba, Lagos and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada) were designated for its management.
We also initiated the construction of twelve 200-bed infectious disease hospitals in the six geopolitical zones. Groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted for Katsina, Imo and Bayelsa states with the remaining states to be conducted soon. These projects will be fully funded by the NNPC and its partners and will manage cases of infectious diseases like COVID-19, and other infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Cholera etc.
Medical supplies were sent to many states to complement their efforts in curtailing the virus and infrastructure were also provided. On the 12th May, 2020 we commissioned the ThisDay Dome COVID-19 Testing, Tracing and Treatment Centre at Abuja. It was equipped by Industry stakeholders and other corporate bodies among which are the NNPC, Sahara Group, CA-COVID and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC). The facility, a one-stop shop deliversCOVID-19 testing of up to 200 samples collected within 24 hours, and boasts of an Intensive Care Unit, Ventilators and a 54Gene laboratory.
Chevron Nigeria Limited and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/ Joint Venture also donated a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratory facility to Warri Central Hospital to support the fight against COVID-19 in Delta State. The provision of the state-of-the-art molecular laboratory testing centre with a brand-new PCR machine brings COVID-19 testing centres to two in the state. Also donated to the new centre at Warri Central Hospital were test kits, medical consumables, five air conditioners, refrigerators and a 50-KVA soundproof generating set as well as the renovation of the four-bedroom laboratory building.
We led Industry partners (Chevron & Bovas Company Ltd) to Kano State in Northern Nigeria where were we donated ambulances, ventilators, medical consumables, personal protective Kits amongst others. On the 27th March, 2020 NNPC also donated critical medical equipment worth over N 200M to the Gwagwalada COVID-19 Isolation Centre to beef up its capacity.
As an organization, our first strategy in containing COVID -19 was to ensure that our staff remain healthy and there is reduced disease transmission in our operations. To this end I personally took responsibility of ensuring my staff and stakeholdersin our areas of operations were safe by instituting measures such as temperature checks, hand washing practices, self-isolation for staff and dependents who have just returned from foreign trips and social distancing in the office and operational areas.
Also following the Federal Government Directive on the lockdown, we directed that only Management staff and staff on essential duties remain at work. Adequate health measures were put in place to ensure safety of those at work. We also directed Heads of Strategic Business Units and Divisions to come up with Business Continuity plans which ensured that our operations continued despite the lockdown. Our robust investment in Information Technology Architecture paid off as staff could work from home.This resulted in greater efficiency and huge cost savings.
Our Medical team ensured that the health and safety of all staff, our families and other stakeholders were not compromised by this pandemic through collaborative efforts with health agencies at Federal, State and Local Government levels to mount appropriate responses to the coronavirus outbreak. These ensured cases were detected and managed promptly.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these were amongst the many interventions all over the country initiated by the NNPC and its partners. We will continue with interventions in medical infrastructure to give our over 200 million shareholders befitting hospitals that will serve as regional hubs of excellence in the management of infectious diseases.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for listening, and I wish you fruitful deliberations.