The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Government of Japan, handed over three ambulances to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday as part of its support to Federal Government led-efforts in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.The vehicles, which will be distributed to priority states with high infection rates, will be used to ensure the effective delivery of healthcare in the COVID-19 response as well as position health systems in Nigeria to be better prepared to respond to health crises in the future.
The statement by the NCDC on Wednesday in Abuja said that in attendance at the official handover event was the Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, Mr. Mohamed Yahya.
It noted that the handover of ambulances is part of the ‘Supporting an inclusive and multisectoral response to COVID-19′ project, a $3,394,286 (equivalent to N1.3 billion) contribution from the UNDP Nigeria and Government of Japan which has gone towards the procurement of medical supplies and equipment to aid the healthcare response, assistance with socio-economic needs including cash for work and supporting small and medium term enterprises, support to impact assessments to establish post COVID-19 strategies in Nigeria as well as measures to support crisis management and response in the country.
According to the statement, the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, his Excellency Mr. Matsunaga Kazuyoshi said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, in our interdependent world, that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Your matter is my matter. Therefore, Japan is giving top priority to expanding and deepening its support for the fight against COVID-19. It is the same in Nigeria.”and ”We will continue to cooperate with Japanese companies, other donor countries and our precious partners, such as UNDP, towards strengthening Nigeria’s health care system.”
It added that the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said: “The success of our work at NCDC depends on the availability of functional systems to ensure health security at the national and sub-national levels. We are grateful to UNDP and the Government of Japan for the generous donations of ambulances to support the work that we do. This pandemic has challenged us greatly but has also provided clarity on what we need to do to secure our future. History will not judge us kindly if we fail to build on the gains of the COVID-19 response. We remain committed to strengthening partnerships that will enable us to build back better for national and global security”.
“Covid-19 has placed immense pressure on the health system in Nigeria, ultimately impacting response efforts across the country. To ensure that no one is left behind, these vehicles, equipped to provide emergency medical care in accordance with international standards, will go to vulnerable hotspot COVID-19 areas to ensure that communities reach health facilities safely and receive quality medical assistance on time”, said Mohamed Yahya, UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative.
He commended the Government of Japan for its active role in helping the Government of Nigeria to support the response against COVID-19.
“We are extremely grateful for this contribution from the Government of Japan to help the healthcare system, assist in getting people back to work and to help crisis affected and vulnerable people affected by this pandemic” he added.