by Edwin Usoboh
United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) on Thursday announced a donation of over N5 billion ($14 million), through the UBA Foundation, to catalyse a comprehensive pan-African response to the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
The donation will provide significant and much needed support to Nigeria and 19 other African countries, by supplying relief materials, critical care facilities, and financial support to governments.
The UBA support programme will be allocated as follows: N1 billion ($2.8 million) to Lagos State government in Nigeria; N500 million ($1.4 million) to Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; N1 billion ($2.8 million) to the remaining 35 states in Nigeria; N1.5 billion ($4.2 million) to UBA’s presence countries in Africa; and N1 billion ($2.8 million) for Medical Centres with equipment and supplies Free Telemedicine Call Centre facility.
The pan-African bank will fund a medical centre immediately in Lagos, Nigeria, with beds for isolation and ICU facilities, managed and operated in partnership with Heirs Holdings’ healthcare subsidiary, Avon Medical Hospital.
In addition, UBA is providing a free telemedicine platform, that is physician-led, to provide direct access to medical advice to citizens, in compliance with social distancing requirements.
UBA Group Chairman Tony O. Elumelu, said: “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global pandemic must bring citizens, governments and business leaders together – and quickly. As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the Coronavirus in Nigeria and Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various governments, in stemming the spread of the global pandemic.
“We commend the efforts of governments and we are keen to partner and contribute our resources to the collective effort that will ensure the response to the pandemic is swift and effective.”
Meanwhile, Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s foremost financial institutions has announced a US$130,000 (N50million) donation to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
The donation was made into a fund set up by 54gene, an African genomics research, services and development company working closely with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in the country by up to 1,000 additional tests a day, by buying testing instruments and critical biosafety materials such as biosafety cabinets and personal protective equipment urgently needed to keep frontline healthcare workers safe. The procured equipment will be installed in general hospitals and laboratories across the country, and will remain in place even after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to be used in the case of future outbreaks.
In addition, there will also be extensive training and support to medical practitioners and volunteers working across the country to curb the menace.
The Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said: “Community is one of our core values at Union Bank, and there’s no better time to live this value than now. A critical need for the country at this time is to scale up our testing capabilities and give us a better chance of slowing the spread of the virus. We are therefore pleased to be supporting 54gene who is directly collaborating with NCDC and World Health Organisation who are coordinating Nigeria’s Covid-19 response.”