In its ongoing efforts to assist the country in its fight against the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), has supported the Federal Government with the supply of oxygen for the case management of COVID-19 patients, at Isolation centres nationwide.
Addressing the media on the latest donations by CACOVID, in Lagos on Monday, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, who doubles as an administrator of CACOVID, Zouera Youssoufou, said the provision of oxygen to all the isolation centres across the country was made available by a key partner of CACOVID, Mr. Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, at no costs, immediately the request for oxygen was madr by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
She said: “As you all know, we are experiencing a severe oxygen supply problem in the country with the second wave. CACOVID, through one of our founding members, Mr. Raj Gupta of African Industries Group immediately stepped in and has been providing oxygen in Abuja, mainly to the National Hospital and Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in FCT. Since December 21, 2020 when we first received the request for oxygen from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, 1300 cylinders have been delivered, and we will continue to do so as long as this is required.”
Youssoufou said the same offer has been made to Lagos State, where there is oxygen shortage, adding that CACOVID as at last week has provided 122 cylinders already refilled for use to the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba.
“In addition to the oxygen that has been provided by African Industries Group, CACOVID has also purchased over 1,000 cylinders to be distributed to the states that have the most need,”Youssoufou added.
She recalled that since March 2020, when CACOVID was inaugurated, the coalition has raised about N39 billion, which has been spent on supporting the establishment of 39 isolation centres across the country, including the largest and most used one during the second wave of the pandemic in Lagos.
“We also purchased millions of PPEs, testing supplies, palliatives for 10.7 million people, and provided risk communication in support of the messaging campaigns to keep Nigerians aware and protected from the virus,” Youssoufou said.
The CEO explained that African Industries Group has made all the appropriate technological adjustments to ensure the oxygen they supply is what is required.
Making a commitment on behalf of CACOVID, Gupta said:”We will continue to support Nigeria with oxygen for free for as long as this is required. No COVID-19 patient in any public hospital or isolation centre should have to pay for oxygen.We have been in Nigeria for 50 years and this year marks our 50th anniversary. We manufacture Oxygen as one of our steel making process but when we noticed COVID-19 patients are dying of Oxygen, we have to step in, through CACOVID.
“As a member of CACOVID, this is our support in moving the country forward and we see this as a humanitarian crisis and as a responsible company, we have to step in, to ensure that no one died due to lack of Oxygen. If it takes us to temporarily stop our steel production, we will happily do that for our people to live and be healthy in Nigeria”
On the cost implication, Gupta said it is a secondary issue, stating that what is important to the company is saving lives.