Africa’a richest man and Nigeria’s foremost philanthropist, Aliko Dangote, the Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director of Dangote Group, and Herbert Wigwe, the Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director of Access Bank, are in the forefront of a private sector driven initiative to complement the Federal Government’s efforts towards checking the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Agenda Watchdog recalls that Aliko Dangote through his foundation, the Aliko Dangote Foundation, had earlier in the month, donated a whooping sum of N200m in support of the war on COVID-19.
The latest anti-COVID-19 efforts, which is known as the Coalition Against Coronavirus (COCAVID), is a comprehensive initiative that would involve the construction of well-equipped medical tents to accommodate patients and also serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centers, together with an additional facility also provided in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Dangote Industries Limited and Access Bank Group-led COCAVID, has other contributory partners such as Zenith Bank, GTBank, MTN, ITB and others. It has the mandate of rallying private sector support, spreading awareness and complementing the efforts of private and public healthcare institutions.
Expatiating on the coalition’s mandate Dangote said that “ADF is pulling resources across industries to provide technical and operational support while providing funding and building support through aggressive awareness drives.”
He further added that “the coalition is working with the Lagos State Government to erect fully-equipped medical tents that will serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centers. We are also providing an additional facility in Victoria Island, Lagos.”
Dangote promised that the centers would be equipped and staffed to smoothly carry out their functions. “In addition, we will be bringing in experts from around the world to provide technical and training support”, he said.
“COVID-19 affects us all and threatens our collective health (economic, social, psychological) and physical wellbeing. Hence, the urgent need to collaborate and work together to beat this common enemy. The task ahead is daunting and bigger than any one organisation. To win this battle, it is critical we all come together as one,” he enthused.
He assured that “work has commenced to ensure these facilities are completed in good time to serve the growing need of the population during this perilous period.”
He called on the governments at all levels to involve private laboratories in the testing of patients to reduce time lost in identifying suspected cases and commencing their treatment. In his words, “There are currently five Government laboratories equipped to handle all the testing in Nigeria. However, we have many more quality ones that can do it, but are not yet approved by Government to do so”.
*** Lilian Ogbonna