By Raphael Oni
H.E Jean Kassi Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission has lauded the European Union (EU), the government of Germany and the development partners over the support that the West African region is receiving in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. The president gave the commendation at a joint handover event of critical medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the EU and Germany in aid of a robust response to COVID-19 in the ECOWAS region. President Brou who was represented by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Finance, Madam Halima Ahmed, noted that as the pandemic continues to evolve, there is now an urgent need to strengthen national capacities and provide essential medical supplies. Acknowledging the support and un-common solidarity of the German government, he said the country’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in collaboration with the EU, has been delivering covid-19 response materials to ECOWAS, in particular, the provision PPEs, and Intensive Care Unit (ICUs), equipped with oxygen compressors and other medical supplies. Maintaining that the support is a clear statement of the strength of collaboration and partnerships in ensuring inclusive, sustainable development of the region, he commended the hard work and commitment of the leadership of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for securing the much needed medical supplies and equipment.
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Nigerian Minister of Health, regaled the fruitful cooperation with multilateral and bilateral institutions and promised efficient and equitable distribution of the materials according to the formula already worked out. Professor Stanley Okolo, the Director General of WAHO described the handover as a “fantastic example of partnership in action” while Country Director of GIZ Madam Ina Hommers emphasized that managing the COVID-19 outbreak requires collective efforts across countries. The materials donated are in the form of PPE as well as equipment for ICUs, such as oxygen compressors, have arrived in Abuja, Nigeria. The first two consignments (of more to follow) will be handed over to ECOWAS Commission and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) for distribution to the 15 ECOWAS Member States through the Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS-RCSDC).