Business - News - January 26, 2021

COVID-19: CACOVID commits to supply oxygen to stem rising death toll

Amid the growing death toll in the country as a result of inadequate supply of oxygen in hospitals to contain the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Monday announced the supply to Isolation centres across the Country critical oxygen for case management of COVID-19 patients.
The supply in Lagos was the latest set of donations by CACOVID in support of the Federal Government effort to fight the COVI-19 scourge.
The Managing director and CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, who doubles as an administrator of CACOVID, Zouera Youssoufou, said the provision of oxygen to all the isolation centres across the country was made available by a key partner of CACOVID, Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, at no costs,
The donation followed the recent request for oxygen made from the Presidential task force on COVID-
“As you all know, we are experiencing a severe oxygen supply problem in the country with the second wave of COVID-19. CACOVID, through one of our founding members, Raj Gupta of African Industries Group immediately stepped up and has been providing oxygen in Abuja, mainly to the National Hospital and Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in FCT.
“Since December 21, 2020 when we first received the request for oxygen from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, about 1,300 cylinders have been delivered, and we will continue to do so as long as this is required,” Ms Youssoufou said.
Ms Youssoufou said the same offer has been made to Lagos state, where there is oxygen shortage and that CACOVID as at last week has provided 122 cylinders already refilled for use and sent to the Yaba medical centre in Lagos.
“In addition to the oxygen provided by African Industries Group, CACOVID also purchased over 1,000 cylinders to be distributed to the states that have the most need”, she said.
On behalf of CACOVID, Raj Gupta of African Industries Group made a commitment to continue to support Nigeria with oxygen for free for as long as this is required.
“No COVID-19 patient in any public hospital or isolation centre should have to pay for oxygen… We have been in Nigeria for 50 years and this year marks our 50th anniversary.
“We manufacture Oxygen as one of our steel making process. But, when we noticed COVID-19 patients are dying of oxygen, we have to step in, through CACOVID.
“As a member of CACOVID, this is our support in moving the country forward, and we see this as a humanitarian crisis, and as a responsible company, we have to step in, to ensure that no-one died due to lack of Oxygen. If it takes us to temporarily stop our steel production, we will happily do that for our people to live and be healthy in Nigeria,” Mr Gupta said,
On cost implication, Mr Gupta said it is a secondary issue adding that what is of most concerns to the company was saving lives.
Since March 2020, when CACOVID was convened, the coalition has raised about N39 billion, which has been spent on supporting the establishment of 39 isolation centres across the country, including the largest and most used in Lagos, during this second wave.
She said: “We also purchased millions of personal protection equipment (PPEs), testing supplies, palliatives for 10.7 million people, and provided risk communication in support of the messaging campaigns to keep Nigerians aware and protected from the virus.”
Mr Youssoufou explained that although African Industries Group has made all the appropriate technological adjustments to ensure the Oxygen, they supply is what is required.

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