A megabuck of N5 billion ($14 million) has been donated by the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) through the UBA Foundation to swell the relief support fund for a comprehensive Pan-African response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the first of such interventions by any bank or organization.
The bank said the donation was to support Nigeria and other African countries in their multi-level fight against the scourge.
“The donation will provide significant and much-needed support to Nigeria and 19 other African countries, by supplying relief materials, critical care facilities, and financial support to governments. “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global epidemic must bring citizens, governments and business leaders together – and quickly,” the UBA Group Chairman, Mr Tony O. Elumelu said in a statement.
It was signed by Mr Ramon Nasir, Head, External and Media Relations of the bank and made available to the media.
The breakdown of the donation: Lagos State Government — N1 billion, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, — N500 million, and 35 states — N1billion.
Other African countries where the bank has presence are to share N1.5 billion ($4.2 million) while N1 billion ($2.8 million) will be expended on medical centres with the provision of equipment and supplies. In addition, UBA will provide a free telemedicine call centre facility.
“The pan-African bank will fund a medical centre immediately in Lagos, Nigeria, with beds for isolation and ICU facilities, managed and operated in partnership with Heirs Holdings’ healthcare subsidiary, Avon Medical Hospital.
“In addition, UBA is providing a free telemedicine platform, that is physician-led, to provide direct access to medical advice to citizens, in compliance with social distancing requirements,” the statement also said.
It added:“As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria and Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various governments, in stemming the spread of the global pandemic.
“We commend the efforts of governments and we are keen to partner and contribute our resources to the collective effort that will ensure the response to the pandemic is swift and effective.”