With over N27 billion received, what has CACOVID been up to?

After the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Nigeria, the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) rose to the occasion.

Led by the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, this coalition has been able to pool together billions of naira to be used to support the World Health Organization (WHO), the Federal Government, and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control in the fight against the pandemic. The funds are also expected to help alleviate some of the economic hardships resulting from the pandemic.

As at the time of writing this report, information from CACOVID states that the targeted sum of N120 billion has not been achieved. Only N27.1 billion has been raised from over one hundred contributors.

Meanwhile, the CBN Governor has assured that every contribution will be duly accounted for.

But then again, there is the question of what exactly CACOVID has been up to in the last few weeks, with all the monies received so far. This is the question Nairametrics set out to answer here.

In a Tuesday evening Instagram live session with popular singer Waje, the Managing Director and CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, (who represents Africa’s richest man in CACOVID), had a lot to say about their activities in the last few weeks. According to her, a lot of their activities are executed with ease because of the presence of the partners all over the country. These partners help to handle the logistics in those locations.

And just like the CBN governor had assured, Youssoufou stated that “all of our accounts are going to be audited by KPMG and those accounts will be made public.”

Now, continue reading to see a more comprehensive breakdown of what CACOVID has been up to with the N27 billion raised so far.

Food relief palliatives

Nairametrics had reported that CACOVID set aside N23 billion to be used for the purchase of food relief materials for 1.67 million households (10 million vulnerable Nigerians).)

The distribution commenced last week, with the distribution of 5000 loaves of bread in three communities in Lagos state.

According to a report from News Agency of Nigeria, the plan is to distribute a total of 70, 000 loaves of bread in Lagos state, giving out 5000 each day for 14 days. 

Youssoufou also explains that there are ongoing arrangement to get baskets of food items to the most vulnerable Nigerians in all 774 local governments, with each basket containing staple foods like rice, garri and other essentials like salt, and pasta. These items, she said, are purchased from the manufacturers to cut down costs.

Isolation centres

As the number of confirmed cases in the country continues to rise, the CACOVID has executed plans to increase the number of isolation facilities available to be used by the NCDC.

According to video clips available on the CACOVID website, the first phase of this is the completion of isolation centres in 6 states including the FCT, while the second phase is the creation and equipping of isolation centres in the remaining 30 states of the nations.

For the first phase, the construction of the isolation centre at Yaba in Lagos state is still ongoing, with a budget of N1 billion. A 66-bed capacity Isolation Centre fully refurbished and equipped by CACOVID, at the cost of N200 million, has been handed over to the Kano State Government.

Youssoufou explains that in all of these transactions, no cash is given but the CACOVID purchased the ventilators, PPEs, testing kits, and delivered and installed the equipment before handing over to the state government or the NCDC.

The specialist hospital at Sobi, Ilorin in Kwara state has also been upgraded to a 100-bed facility and handed over to the state government. Similarly, the Rivers State Government received a fully equipped isolation centre in Port Harcourt, while Enugu State received some beds and equipment to boost its isolation facility.)

Also ,CACOVID partnered with ThisDay and Arise Media group and others to transform the ThisDay Dome in Abuja into a 360-bed isolation and treatment centre.

Contact tracing 

The CACOVID is also funding part of the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) and providing for logistics cost of ambulances and movement of patients.

The exact amount dedicated to this has not been revealed so far. However,  it is  expected to be given at the end of the CACOVID’s activities.

Launch of COVID-19 screening tool

To further assist the testing process, the group launched a screening tool which administers a 5-stage questionnaire for users to determine symptoms they might be experiencing, pre-existing health conditions, recent travel history, and exposure to confirmed cases or risk zones like healthcare facilities.

At the end of the screening, a recommendation is given either asking the user to isolate and maintain proper hygiene, or to contact the nearest response centre to his given location.)

Purchase of testing kit

The NCDC is still below the expected number of daily testing expected to be conducted, but cannot scale up without the availability of more testing units. To this end, CACOVID has ordered additional 250,000 molecular testing kits, after the first 400,000 ordered which is expected to ramp up testing across the country, and help the health agency extend its testing to include more asymptomatic patients.

Explaining this process during the live session, Youssoufou said “we don’t write a cheque to the government and we don’t give the money to the NCDC. We buy the reagents, we buy the supplies and then we give them to the NCDC to distribute to the laboratories so that more people can be tested”.

Advocacy and Public enlightenment

The end of COVID-19 in Nigeria can only become visible when Nigerians get more enlightened and fully adhere to the provided guidelines. CACOVID tries to quicken this process through its advocacy and enlightenment efforts across several media.

They have enlisted the help of CEOs, billionaires, and even celebrities to speak to Nigerians in the language they understand and get them to accept that this pandemic is not a joke.

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