The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday donated N2.5 million worth of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Medical Services Centre, Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.
The items donated include 460 units of hand disinfection gel, 1,000 units of plastic apron, 900 units of non-woven surgical cap, 3,000 units of latex surgical gloves, and 3,000 units of nitrile surgical gloves.
Others were 600 units of protection gown, 300 single use respiratory protection masks and 3,000 single use surgical mask.
The organisation made the donation through the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Anambra Chapter, partners of ICRC on COVID-19 Infection Prevention Control (IPC) among doctors and other health workers.
Dr Jide Onyekwelu, Chairman of the NMA in Anambra while delivering the PPEs, said it was sequel to the trainers’ training that the association held in July to equip doctors from the five NMA zones in the state with basic information on infectious disease control and management.
Onyekwelu described as worrisome the number of doctors who had either been infected with COVID-19 or died as a result of it since Feb. 27 when the first positive case was confirmed in Nigeria and March 27when it was confirmed in Anambra State.
The chairman said PPEs would help curb the spread of infections between doctors and patients in the isolation centre and promised that similar gestures would be extended to other health facilities in the state.
The chairman said the association would continue to promote the safety of members and work with the government of Anambra to combat the pandemic to a standstill.
He said, “NMA has plans of extending similar donations to other isolation centre, including Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.
“NMA in Anambra will continue to do our best by partnering government and other strategic partners to fight the scourge to a standstill and consign COVID- 19 to the dustbin of history.”
Onyekwelu decried the high cost of PPEs and called on government to get more involved in the availability and accessibility of the safety equipment to health workers.
He said there was a need to help private doctors who were more exposed to infections because they treat all category of patients in the society.
“Of particular mention is the private health sector, the doctor in the private healthcare facility is the most exposed because he is the primary care physician who attends to the differentiated patients.
“Before he starts suspecting that a case may be COVID-19, he is already exposed, He, therefore, needs the most protection. However, the sponsors of this project, ICRC, specifically what these PPEs to go to isolation centres only,” he said.
Receiving the equipment, Prof. Lasbrey Asomugha, Director, Unizik Medical Services, thanked the NMA for the kind gesture.
Asomugha said the donations would further enhance the readiness of NAU for school reopening whenever it was announced.
He said Unizik now had a full fledged 80-bed capacity isolation centre and sample test centre which were critical in the list of medical preconditions that must be met before resumption.
“On behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Charles Esimone I want to thank the NMA for donating these items and like Oliver Twist, we will always ask for more,” he said.