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Minister tasks federal health institutions on use of N49bn intervention fund

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The Federal Government has tasked all Federal health institutions to ensure proper utilisation of the N49 billion intervention fund released for the upgrade of their health facilities.

Mr Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, made the call, on Tuesday, during an assessment and evaluation visit to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), in Edo.

While commending the management of ISTH on the utilisation of the fund, the minister noted that only those institutions that had judiciously applied the funds would get the balance of 50 percent.

He said that each of the 52 federal health institutions were meant to get N950 million to upgrade their infrastructure and improve resilience in the sector.

“This fund is meant for some specific purposes such as, the building of molecular laboratories at the cost of N18.5 billion for 52 health institutions and also equipment for isolation centers at N5.2 billion.

“Provision was also made for the building of 520 Intensive Care Units (ICU) at 10 each for the 52 institutions at the cost of N18.3 billion and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at N7 billion.

“In all, each of the federal health institutions is to get N950 million. Edo State is blessed with three federal health institutions and this has brought close to N3 billion into the medical centres in the state. This is aside from the N1 billion given to the state.

“Every state got N1 billion, with the exception of Lagos, Kano, and FCT, that got more because they are the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have the same impression with what I saw in the centres I have visited before now; quality work being done, the equipment has been purchased. ISTH has always been an institution of reference for others,” Agba said.

The minister also said that two federal health institutions in Edo state, ISTH and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, would benefit from the $18.2 million fund from the Japanese Government.

Agba said the fund was meant to strengthen disease control in the country and also build the capacity of personnel.

Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of ISTH, Dr Sylvanus Okogbeni, thanked the Federal Government for the intervention fund, adding that it had impacted positively in the area of disease control.

He said with the molecular laboratory, the diagnosis was being made without haven to send samples abroad.

“We are able to diagnose not only for COVID-19 but other viruses. It was instrumental in the last few months.

“We were able to resolve the mysterious deaths in Delta and Eastern part of the country,” he stated.

George Edomwonyi

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