As Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases surge, UN and EU respond with urgently needed essential medical supplies to save lives

The arrival of the medical supplies will boost the Government’s efforts to provide an efficient and effective healthcare for those affected by COVID-19

As the total number of COVID-19 pandemic cases in Nigeria surged from 665 on 20 April, to 6,677 on 20 May and 19,808 on 20 June; coupled with fatality rising at the same period from 22 in April to 202 in May and 506 in June, it became clearer that the curve would, for a while, continue to be steep as testing is ramped up and delivery of essential medical supplies would have to be quickened to match the rapid surge and save lives.

The urgently needed boost to the Nigerian situation, however, came on 20 June 2020, when the United Nations system in Nigeria and the European Union, landed a shipment of vital medical supplies and handed over to the Federal Government of Nigeria to help fight the spread of coronavirus and safe treatment of affected people in the country.

The shipment, along with others coming soon, are valued at more than USD 22 million, and procured through the Nigeria/ One-UN COVID-19 Basket Fund, with a significant contribution from the European Union (EU). The current consignment includes, among other items, 545 oxygen concentrators, more than 100,000 test kits, infrared digital no-touch thermometers, numerous personal protective equipment (PPEs), laboratory supplies and emergency health kits that will boost the Nigerian Government’s efforts COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the coronavirus.

The essential medical supplies will enhance efforts of the frontline responders providing care and treatment to people affected by the virus, increase testing capacity and early detection of those affected by the virus, and support the hospitalisation and management of COVID-19 cases. The supplies were handed over to the Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19,   and were officially presented by Mr. Edward Kallon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria and Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, at an event attended by high-level delegates from the EU, Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the UN.

“The arrival of the medical supplies will be a boost to the Government’s efforts to provide an efficient and effective healthcare response for those affected by the virus. These vital supplies co-funded by the EU will help us to both protect healthcare workers and ensure people are tested and treated as quickly as possible to save lives,” said Mr. Kallon.

Ambassador Karlsen, acknowledged that “Today we take a vital step in the response to the pandemic. The alliance between Team Europe, the PTF and the UN has proven very strong. This is partnership in practice when it matters the most. Addressing the health crisis in Nigeria and getting the economic wheels turning again are key priorities for the EU, all while making sure that we protect the most vulnerable,”

The growing COVID-19 crisis threatens to disproportionately impact communities not only as a health crisis in the short term but as a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come. The One-UN COVID-19 response is working closely with the Nigerian Government in its pandemic response efforts through sharing crucial information with communities on how to protect themselves, infection prevention and control, epidemiology/surveillance and management of COVID-19 cases. The fund will also support income-generating opportunities for people whose livelihoods are most at risk through cash transfers and help restore supply chains disrupted by the pandemic.

“We must all work together to contain the pandemic in Nigeria – it is only through close joint efforts that we can keep Nigerians healthy and ensure good care for those affected. We will beat this virus in Nigeria – and the support we are receiving from partners such as the EU, UN and others brings us even closer to this ultimate goal,” said Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chair, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, represented by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

The UN in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria had on 6 April 2020, launched the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund. The Basket Fund is designed to serve as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform, through which different stakeholders (including UN, other multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists) can channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.

The Basket Fund has mobilized US$61.3 million, including US$54.6 million from the European Union (EU); US$2.2 million from UN agencies; $US4 million from the private sector (Dangote US$ 3.8 million and AP Maersk US$ 0.2 million); and US$0.4 million from the Government of Switzerland.

Written by
Oluseyi Soremekun
National Information Officer
UNIC National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Department of Safety and Security
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Institute for Training and Research
United Nations Mine Action Service
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Office for Project Services
World Food Programme
World Health Organization
World Metereological Organization