By Olujimi Oyetomi
The Central Working Committee (CWC) of Frontline Health Workers Support Fund which consists of eight (8) professional bodies in the health sector has paid a courtesy call on the Honourable Ministers of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, pledging their readiness to work with the Federal and Sub-National Governments and in particular the Presidential Task Force (PTF) towards enhancing the success of the ongoing war against COVID-19. The body is not only pledging harmonious working relationship, they have also pledged to support the Federal Government with equipment worth Five Billion Naira “to be made up in the short run, medium term and in the long run.”
The Central Working Committee (CWC) of Frontline Health Workers Support Fund is composed of the Nigerian Medical Association; Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors; Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria (PSN); National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM); Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN); Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN); Guild of Medical Directors (GMD); and Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors.
The novel Body was led in to see the Honourable Ministers Friday, 3rd July, 2020 by the Director, Hospital Services in Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi mni, and Comrade Abdufatai Adeniji and Prof. Femi Babalola, the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the CWC of the Support Fund.
The CWC of the Frontline Health Workers Support Fund already has a procurement list and Basic Operational Cost for ensuring that they could raise the funds for the pledged donations of equipment, items and capacity building of frontline health workers.
The pledged donations include: 11 Million Facemasks, Complete Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) – Boots, Sterile Gloves, Non-Sterile Gloves all of various sizes, Visors, Waterproof jumpsuits and Nylon Aprons of various sizes “for health workers who are not already covered by the provisions by Government especially those in the private sector.”
Other items of procurement by the CWC include the Establishments of Seven Testing Centers – One each at the Six Geo-political zone of the Country and FCT, Payment of Stipend for Personnel at Testing Centers – Lab Scientists, Cleaners, Drivers, Nurses, Admin Staff and Ambulance Support.
Yet other items of procurement planned include Data Analytics Development, Ambulances planned for rapid evacuation of frontline workers, COVID-19 related research, Establishment of Isolation Units, Insurance Scheme covering morbidity and mortality, Hospital-based and Extra-mural capacity building and Training of Frontline Health-care Workers.
The Head of the Delegation of the CWC of the Frontline Health Workers Support Fund, Comrade Abdufatai Adeniji had earlier disclosed to the Honourable Ministers that the Body which is a novel coalition in the history of health care in Nigeria resolved to do things in the way they have pledged, because of the realization that despite the huge investment by the Government at the National and Sub-National levels, Government alone cannot bear the burden of safeguarding the lives of the Frontline Health Workers.” He was supported in this by Prof. Femi Babalola, the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the CWC, who gave a breakdown of their procurement pursuits – “We have decided to push aside any form of differences and unconditionally decided to come together for the purpose of mobilizing resources (human, materials, funds and sundries)” to support Government.
In response, the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora pointedly told the delegates of the CWC of the Frontline Health Workers Support Fund to realize that “We are all labourers in the vineyard of health” urging them to note that “COVID-19 has ushered in a “new normal with the opportunity given for Nigeria and Nigerians to re-calibrate and re-jig our experiences and using same to re-bond more than before; coming together in a new spirit realizing that the health team is not a solo event but a team one.” While thanking them, he welcomes the idea of their supporting the Government at this point in time.
On his part, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Honourable Minister of Health encouraged the CWC of the Frontline Health Workers Support Fund to know that the Government welcomes the new spirit of partnership which they promised and their plans to fund all that they have pledged to donate in support of the COVID-19 fight.
Director, Information, Media & Public Relations,
Federal Ministry of Health