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COVID-19 Testing: Aliko Dangote Foundation engages 54gene Laboratory

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54Gene is accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and has already set up labs in Lagos and in Ogun States

LAGOS, Nigeria- The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), a philanthropic endeavor of Aliko Dangote, has contracted 54Gene, a molecular diagnostics company specialized in research, and diagnostics, to immediately set up a 400 test/day capacity laboratory in Kano State.

The lab, which was inaugurated yesterday – May 3rd in Kano, will start with a testing capacity of 400 tests a day, increasing to 1,000 tests a day by May 10th.

The lab will be set up at Muhammadu Buhari Hospital in Kano, where an isolation center is currently operational.

The President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said the foundation is directly supporting the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 containment efforts in Kano State.

According to Dangote, this new investment in support of increasing nation-wide testing, comes in addition to ADF’s support through the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

He explained: “CACOVID is already setting up a 310 bed isolation center at Sani Abacha stadium in Kano. We are extending that capacity by another 150 beds at the Abubakar Imam Urology Centre in Kano, which is being converted into an isolation center now. These two centers will be operational pending the final validation by the Infection Prevention and Control team, which we expect will be completed in the coming days.”

Dangote pledged the Foundation’s commitment to reduce the number of lives lost to diseases, such as COVID-19, Ebola and other deadly viruses in the State.

He said the foundation would not relent in using its investments in health, education, and economic empowerment to help lift people out of sickness and poverty.

Speaking on the efforts of the Foundation to assist the Federal Government in curtailing the spread of COVID-19, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, added that ADF is also supporting the Rapid Response Teams in their work to identify suspected covid-19 cases across the healthcare centers in Kano. “ADF will immediately handover to the Kano RRT, 10 new ambulances (4 that ae immediately available and 6 over the next week), two vehicles and PPEs to support the transportation of patients from different parts of the state”, she said.

She said that the Foundation is also supporting the Kano State Covid-19 contact call center that responds to citizen queries and concerns around Covid-19 and refers people to the proper place for follow up, by providing extra phone lines and ICT infrastructure as well as training for the call center staff.

On training, she disclosed: “We are supporting training and incentives for covid-19 health workers.  We will provide hazard incentives and protections for the healthcare and lab workers who are working on the covid-19 response. We are also providing training to them, initially online and via distance learning, and will complement his with in-person training in Kano under strict IPC protocols developed in conjunction with the NCDC.

“ADF will continue to provide PPEs to the Kano State Covid-19 Taskforce, which will then be distributed to the hospitals as appropriate. Items already supplied include coveralls, gloves, masks, respirators, goggles, boots and sanitizers.

“We are expanding the CACOVID communications strategy in Kano by adding more communications and advocacy around Covid-19 prevention across radio, TV and traditional and community leaders.”

Commending ADF, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje stated: “There’s no doubt we started on a shaky foundation, with assistance of ADF, we can see that a friend in deed is a friend in need. We are very grateful for the mobile testing Centre witch will launch with 400 samples per day and after a week, increase to 1,000 tests  per day.

“It is now left for us to intensify efforts to collect samples. We will ensure that all that 44 Local Government Council have collection centres.  Here in the metropolitan local government, we will have 100s of collection centres because this is where the majority of the population is”.

The governor added that the state has intensify efforts to create awareness about the reality of coronavirus.

Also Read: Envisionit Deep AI launches AI solution to help Radiologists and Doctors fight Coronavirus

He commended the Dangote Foundation for always occupying the forefront of helping in critical times like this.

Speaking on the collaboration, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, the 40ft structure built with container technology, provides a unique plug-and-play solution.

Ene-Obong explained that the mobile laboratory is also fully kitted with vital instruments including an autoclave, bio-safety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes, and PCR machines to support COVID-19 testing.

He stated: “Our mobile lab is fully equipped with all the vital instruments required for COVID-19 testing, and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport. Its unique plug and play feature eliminates the logistics of shipping samples to another location for the processing which reduces turnaround times for test results and allows clinicians to manage and treat patients accurately, sooner rather than later.”

Ene-Obong said the company has also helped build capacity by equipping molecular scientists with the necessary skill set required to handle the instruments in the mobile lab as they would in regular molecular testing laboratories.

“Our mobile lab removes the restriction imposed by permanent buildings and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport and the mobile capability it provides”, he added.

Visit: Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF)

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NGOs - SDGs

The ELMA Group of Foundations Commits ZAR 2 Billion to COVID-19 Response in Africa

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Unjani Clinics in South Africa received their shipment of much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for their nurses and staff, made possible with support from The ELMA South Africa Foundation (Pic credit: Unjani Clinics)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa- The ELMA Group of Foundations has announced a commitment of ZAR 2 billion to respond to COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on under-resourced and vulnerable communities in Africa. A minimum of ZAR 500 million of this commitment is for South Africa, and includes an immediate contribution by The ELMA South Africa Foundation of ZAR 250 million to The South African Solidarity Response Fund. The remaining ZAR 250 million will be used to fund a wide range of projects to mitigate the country-wide effects of COVID-19.

Bernadette Moffat, Exec. Dir.,The ELMA Philanthropies Services (Africa)(Pty) Ltd. and Chair of The ELMA South Africa Foundation, states, “ELMA has been investing in initiatives to improve the health, education, and well-being of children and the families and communities that support them since 2005. This new commitment to respond to the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates our absolute commitment to Africa and to Africa’s children.”

Commenting on the donation to the South Africa Solidarity Response Fund, Nomkhita Nqweni, CEO of the Solidarity Fund said, “We wish to extend our gratitude to The ELMA South Africa Foundation for the spirit of partnership they have displayed in working with us towards bolstering South Africa’s resilience against the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration and partnerships such as this are testament to the possibilities that exist when we combine efforts.”

Also Read: COVID-19 Testing: Aliko Dangote Foundation engages 54gene Laboratory

In addition to the ZAR250 million donation to the South Africa Solidarity Response Fund, ELMA is collaborating with other funders and partners on a variety of COVID-19 response initiatives across the continent. One such initiative is supporting community health workers and community care workers as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Ensuring that these essential workers have sufficient personal protective equipment, food, access to testing, and psycho-social support is a priority if we are to overcome COVID-19.

As such, The ELMA South Africa Foundation is collaborating with The South African Solidarity Response Fund, The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach ProjectJohnson and Johnson, The Horace W Goldsmith Foundation, to support an initiative led by the DG Murray Trust to provide personal protective equipment and other critical support to more than 120,000 community care workers delivering crucial health and social services across South Africa.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis for the African continent and requires a momentous response if we are to recover from the devastation it has and will cause,” adds Moffat. “We must come together in solidarity, especially those with means, so that Africa can overcome and rebuild. ELMA is proud to combine forces with other philanthropists, governments, and civil society organizations who are taking bold actions against COVID-19.” 

The ELMA Group of Foundations

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NGOs - SDGs

Sahara Group Highlights Critical Role Of Intra-Africa Led Covid-19 Interventions

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300-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre in Abuja (Credit: Sahara Group).

Lagos, Nigeria– Intra-Africa led collaboration and interventions by the private sector can help the continent bolster ongoing efforts geared towards containing the spread of COVID-19 as well as promote sustainable development across the continent, Temitope Shonubi, Executive Director, Sahara Group has said.

Speaking while taking journalists on a tour of the completed over 300-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre in Abuja, Shonubi said leading African businesses can leverage their membership of trade associations, the Private Sector Advisory Group platform of the United Nations and the African Influencers for Development (AI4Dev) platform of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to drive a more cohesive and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

“Sahara Group, through our operations across Africa, has consistently demonstrated its support for intra-Africa led approach to promoting economic prosperity and sustainable development on the continent. Sahara Foundation, our corporate citizenship vehicle conceptualized the Abuja Isolation Centre project, partnered with the This Day media group and worked with other partners to deliver a world-class facility that will help save lives. Sahara is also supporting COVID-19 interventions across Africa and is exploring areas of further collaboration with other partners for the benefit of over 1.3 billion people that call Africa home,” he said.

Shonubi said Sahara Foundation’s concept for the project was driven by the desire to make a difference in how nations respond to the pandemic in terms of physical, mental, and socio-economic well-being of all Africans. “In addition to playing a major role in delivering the centre, Sahara and its entities have been involved in providing personal protective equipment and relief materials to help medical personnel and the vulnerable cope with the impact of the pandemic. We believe the ‘Africa for Africa’ message is one that can bring hope and succor to Africa at this time.”

According to Shonubi, who is also a member of UNDP Africa’s AI4Dev initiative, Sahara Group is also providing dry and cooked food to over one million beneficiaries, face masks, hand sanitizers and relief materials to communities where its power affiliates (Ikeja Electric, Egbin Power and First Independent Power Limited), upstream and other Sahara affiliates operate across Africa.

In Zambia, Asharami Energy Limited Company donated tens of thousands of hand-made fabric/Chitenge masks to shore up access to PPE and slow the spread of the virus. The company also publishes materials in English, Bemba, and Nyanja to facilitate the dissemination of information about the pandemic. In Kenya, Asharami Synergy Limited donated thousands of 5 litre jerrycans of hand sanitizers, whilst oxygen has been donated to hospitals in Ghana as well as Cote d’Ivoire to boost life support operations.

Sahara’s Downstream entity, Asharami Synergy, working in collaboration with other members of the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), is providing support towards the completion and equipping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Abuja.

Located at the THISDAY Dome in Abuja, the centre was delivered by a coalition of partners including Sahara Foundation, THISDAY, CCECC, Arise News, The Presidency, Egbin Power, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Federal Capital Territory Authority, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the Federal Ministry of Health, the African Finance Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria through CaCovid. Wood Factory, the Regents school, the three fashion brands of Ebewele Brown, Traffic Clo and Syari Clothiers, Kenol, Mama Cass, 54 Gene and Central Park.

Also Read: Redshift – Connecting South African small retailers with shoppers during lockdown

The Centre which will be overseen by the FCTA under the supervision of NCDC has a capacity of a minimum of 300 beds with provision for additional 8 Intensive Care Unit beds, ventilators, dialysis machines, protective equipment, and mobile facilities for testing.

Visit: Sahara Group

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Corporate Citizenship

Nestlé provides COVID-19 relief worth over USD 3.4 million in Central and West Africa

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Nestlé is also contributing masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep frontline health workers safe

ACCRA, Ghana- Nestlé is supporting more than 850,000 vulnerable people in Central and West Africa as part of a USD 3.4 million effort to help countries in the region fight COVID-19.

At a time when hunger is a growing concern the company is donating nutritious food and beverages to 170,000 families, corresponding to 850,000 people, across the region in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Gabon, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

Nestlé is also contributing masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep frontline health workers safe.

The company is also donating medical equipment to hospitals in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal. Additionally, in Burkina Faso, it will donate three ventilators, for use in intensive care units.

Efforts to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus will be carried out in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

“We’re offering our full support to families across Central and West Africa during these challenging times, and to those who are battling to keep them safe,” said Rémy Ejel, CEO of Nestlé Central and West Africa Ltd.

“Nestlé has been present in Central & West Africa for more than 60 years. We live and operate in these communities across the region, so we are committed to help in any way that we can”. Mr Ejel said.

Contributing to improving sanitation

Through its partnership with the IFRC, the company will contribute close to USD 420,000 to strengthen Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal.

The donation to the IFRC, which is part of the total relief effort in the region, includes cash donations and supply of medical and other equipment.

The two partners aim to limit the transmission of the virus by improving hygiene practices in public areas such as bus stations and in communities where WASH infrastructure is lacking. 

In addition, they will join forces to sensitize people about prevention measures and the importance of eating safe and nutritious foods.

Also Read: Envisionit Deep AI launches AI solution to help Radiologists and Doctors fight Coronavirus

Providing affordable accessible nutrition

Nestlé in Central and West Africa is committed to ensuring people continue to have access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods to feed their families in these uncertain times.

Production has continued at Nestlé sites in the region, despite the challenges faced.

Nestlé has implemented enhanced hygiene protocols and additional safety measures for the frontline staff working at its ten factories, its distribution centres and its sales offices.

PPE has also been provided to suppliers, distributors and retailers, including MAGGI ‘Mammies’ and ‘Pappies’ working in open markets.

“We are doing all we can to ensure that our employees, contractors and partners remain healthy and safe. This is our number one priority” said Mr Ejel. “We are so grateful for their efforts and their determination to keep supplying our communities with food and beverages, despite the challenges.”
 

Nestlé.

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