The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Foundation on Monday donated N28.5 million to Plateau Government as part of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The foundation made the presentation during Governor Simon Lalong’s meeting on COVID-19 with the state legislature and state officials of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at Government House, Jos.
Speaking during the presentation, the regional manager of UBA North Central, Steve Gadzama, said the gesture was the bank’s contribution to the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Trust Fund.
Mr Gadzama said the bank had also built and furnished the isolation facility in Plateau Specialist Hospital and donated two incubators to the ward.
In his response, Lalong expressed gratitude to UBA for setting the pace in contributions to the fund, saying the state government was going to fall back on the gesture as a back-up as the disease had the potential of affecting the economy.
Mr Lalong appealed to public spirited Nigerians to contribute to the fund while commending business moguls such as Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and Jack Ma for their contributions to combat the virus in Nigeria.
He said the meeting with the legislature was critical to ensure that policies regarding safeguarding the health of Plateau people were successful.
He said Plateau had not recorded any confirmed case of the Coronavirus, but that it was imperative to ensure that people comply with government directives on preventive measures.
The governor said the measures would be reviewed as required.
Speaking at the meeting, the state Commissioner of Health, Nimkong Ndam, said Plateau had been selected as one of the additional centres for testing COVID-19 in the country making it 13.
He said studies had shown that drugs such as hydroxylchloroquine, azithromyicin and zinc sulphate had been discovered to be helpful in the treatment of COVID-19, saying the state government had made provisions for them.
Mr Ndam said infrared thermometers were being used at the entry point of Plateau from Abuja, to check the passengers entering the state and monitor them in the advent of high temperature.
He said recent results of five suspected cases of COVID-19 in the state had turned negative, saying the state would begin training of health workers on Tuesday selected from different hospitals.
He added that protective equipment had been provided for them.
In his presentation, the chairman of the state economic team, Ezekiel Gomos, said that COVID-19 required prudent use of resources in the state, explaining that the federal government allocation to states would decrease.
He said the state government should reduce the overdependence of revenue derived from oil by boosting agricultural activities in the state, especially the production of vegetables and grains where it had comparative advantage.
He said the state should reduce its capital expenditure by 65 per cent, prioritise health care expenditure, establish a framework to involve chairmen of local Governments in preventive measures and seek special funds from development partners and agencies to support the health sector.
The speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Nuhu Abok, and the chairman of APC in Plateau, Latyep Dabang, urged Plateau residents to comply with preventive measures as directed by the government, saying the residents should not be complacent because there is no record of the virus in the state.