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Coalition plans relief packages for 1.7m households


The private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has disclosed that no fewer than 1.7 million households would benefit from its food relief packages to help alleviate the effects of the lockdown adopted by governments across the country.

It also disclosed that it has ordered 250,000 supplies for tests and another 150,000 extraction kits to facilitate molecular screening for the coronavirus, noting that the reality of the situation was such that efforts must be accelerated to tackle the scourge.

Speaking in Lagos on its activities in helping the Federal Government to contain the coronavirus pandemic, leaders of CACOVID stated that the group has set up isolation centres in Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Borno, Enugu states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while renovation of hospitals and medical supplies were ongoing in other states.

Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Zouera Youssoufou, explained that all partners of CACOVID were ready to roll out in all parts of the country having commenced building and equipping of isolation centres in some states.


She pointed out that there were currently three platforms for molecular testing in country, one of which is the ‘Open PCR Machines’, which the coalition has ordered for 10 units, with eight laboratories certified to conduct COVID-19 tests.

“Open PCR machine is currently the standard platform. Eight labs are certified to conduct COVID-19 testing, 10 new PCR machines and 150,000 extraction kits have been ordered.

“The other is Roche Cobus Platform with six Machines in Nigeria, each capable of testing 960 tests at a time. Nigeria was on track to receive 38,000, but we have ordered 250,000, while 10,000 tests ordered by UNICEF arrived on Thursday, April 16, 2020,” she said.

Continuing, she added, “We also have Cepheid Gene Expert Machines – there are 400 machines installed in the country. 250 are expected to be functional with trained lab technicians.

“Cepheid has developed a COVID-19 testing cartridge that has received FDA approval and will begin shipping to Africa in two weeks. We have ordered 250,000 cartridges and expect shipment receipt in two weeks.”

Speaking, Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, noted that the coalition knew the fight against coronavirus was not going to be easy from the onset, but would require collaborative effort, adding that CACOVID-19 was approaching the fight against the virus from three levels.

On his part, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman urged other private sector organisations yet to identify with CACOVID to join hands and contribute their own quota.


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