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Covid-19: Use your N49b intervention fund well and get more, FG tells teaching hospitals

By Peterson Ibi/Benin
The federal government on Tuesday announced that only federal health institutions that made judicious use of the N49 billion intervention fund released to them to combat the dreaded Coronavirus (Covid-19), would get the remaining 50 per cent.
The Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Prince Clem Agba, disclosed this on Tuesday, during an assessment visit to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Irrua, Edo state.
The minister who commended the management of ISTH on the utilisation of the fund, disclosed that each of the 52 federal health institutions were meant to get N950 million to upgrade their infrastructure and improve resilience in the sector.
According to him, “This fund is meant for some specific purposes such as: building of molecular laboratories at the cost of N18.5 billion for the 52 health institutions and equipments for isolation centers at N5.2 billion for the institutions.
“Provision was also made for the building of 520 Intensive Care Units, 10 each for the 52 institutions at cost of N18.3 billion and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), at N7 billion.
“In all, each of the federal health institutions are to get N950 million. Edo state is blessed with three federal health institutions and this has brought close to N3 billion into the medical centres in the state. This is aside the N1 billion given to the state.
“Every state got N1 billion with the exception of Lagos, Kano and FCT that got more, because they are the epic centers of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have the same impression with what I saw in the centres I have visited before now; quality work being done, equipment being purchased, ISTH have always been an institution of reference for others.”
The minister also disclosed that two federal health institutions in Edo State, ISTH and University of Benin Teaching Hospital, would benefit from the $18.2 million fund from the Japanese Government.
He said the fund is meant to strengthen disease control in the country and also build capacity of personnel.
Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of ISTH, Dr Sylvanus Okogbeni, had commended the government for the intervention fund and noted that it has impacted positively in the area of disease control.
He said with the molecular laboratory, diagnosis were being made without haven to send samples abroad.
“We are able to diagnose not only for Covid-19, but other viruses. It was instrumental in the last few months.
“We were able to to resolve the mysterious deaths in Delta and Eastern part of the country,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), says it has vaccinated no fewer than 2,200 members of staff if the Hospital, agaithe dreaded Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Hospital, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, disclosed this on Tuesday, when he received the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, who was on assessment visit to the institution.
He noted that since the first case was reported in the Hospital on March 28, 2020, a total of 7, 369 test have been carried out by the UBTH, while 1,080 confirmed cases have been attended to.
He explained that from the figure, 210 were staff with doctors accounting for 109 and one case of mortality.
According to the CMD, 75 percent of the 175 persons that died in the Hospital as a result of the pandemic, had underlying ailments such as hypertension, diabetes among others.
He commended the Federal Government for it intervention that have led to the expansion of it testing capacity and also improvement in handling Covid-19 cases.
“When this virus broke out in March 28 last year, we had no laboratory, no isolation ward, no MPR machine and so many other things needed.
“With the support of government, anong other things, we have been able to achieve much, we have a laboratory that have expanded our testing capacity,” he stated.