EHIME ALEX, Lagos
The Shell companies in Nigeria have presented eight vehicles to the governments of Lagos and Rivers State to support the efforts at contact tracing and treatment of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
The companies, comprising The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC); Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo); and Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG), also joined other players in the oil and gas industry to support the Federal Government with $30 million to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
According to a release, SPDC’s Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, disclosed this on Tuesday while presenting hospital and medical equipment to Rivers state government in Port Harcourt where the company is headquartered.
Four of the vehicles, he said, went to the government of Lagos state which has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the other four, including an ambulance, were given to Rivers state.
Represented by the SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, Okunbor said the multimillion naira donations would reposition three tertiary medical facilities in the state to test, treat and generally manage any COVID-19 cases in the Niger Delta in the event of an outbreak.
“Shell’s interventions will enhance the clinical capacities and capabilities within Rivers State in particular with focus on the Eleme General Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), and the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH),” Okunbor said, adding that SPDC and its partners are working with the Rivers State Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to ensure laboratories at the RSUTH and UPTH attain capacity to be used to conduct approved tests.
“This will cut the turn-around time for the receipt of tests results, with tests currently carried out at Irua, Edo State, for Rivers and other states in the Niger Delta,” he was quoted.
According to Okunbor, Shell is making direct interventions to enhance clinical capacities and capabilities across locations where it currently has operations in Nigeria, including Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Lagos and Ogun states.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, who took delivery of the equipment described the Shell intervention as timely and critical to the success of readying the state to manage any disease outbreak in Rivers State.
Chike said, “We appreciate you, Shell, and your partners. You have, again, shown leadership. You have proved that you are different. Shell representatives in the state’s technical monitoring groups are always on time and they are a reference point for others.”
The commissioner stated that the state was in a hurry to be fully ready for any outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
“This pandemic is quite serious. This is why Rivers State has been on an alert phase since the COVID-19 outbreak. This is no time to blame anybody but for all hands to be on deck,” he said.
The donated equipment included defibrillators, ventilators, stretchers, swabs, personal protection equipment (PPEs), and a 150kva generator for the Rivers State COVID-19 holding centre in Eleme area of Rivers State.