Kogi politician and activist, Natasha Akpoti, on Friday donated three ventilators to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement by the Natasha Akpoti Foundation, although the state had yet to record any COVID-19 case, the ventilators are to be installed in the public health facility in the state.
She charged individuals and the business community to assist the government to fight the global scourge shortly after the equipment was unveiled on Friday.
According to her: “It is trite knowledge that Nigeria’s healthcare sector especially that of Kogi State is dilapidated largely due to governmental neglect.
“However, citizens can’t afford to fold their arms when humanity is at stake in the wake of this Coronavirus pandemic.
“When I got wind of the fact that Kogi State in its entirety had no ventilators, I thought the most patriotic and humane thing to do was the purchase the much one could to help my people.
“The three ventilators have been installed at the Federal Medical Centre and they have been unveiled.
“As of today, there is no recorded case of COVID-19 in Kogi, but it does not mean we should fold our hands only to act at the 11th hour.
“It is a proactive measure to ensure that whenever any patient surfaces, these facilities would be offered free of charge.
“Beyond this coronavirus pandemic, I hope these facilities will be of service to patients in need of respiratory aid. Healthcare is one area that is very dear to my heart.
“I grew up amongst the medics; my father was a medical doctor and my elder brother is one too.
“Hence, I have come to appreciate the importance of good and efficient healthcare being available to even the most vulnerable in the society.
“The quality of health care service one gets depends on the experience of the personnel and the quality of equipment available.
“Now Kogi State can boast of three ventilators and we hope the government will step up to its responsibilities by upgrading the isolation centres.
“My desire that these ventilators would be rendered free of charge at use is because I know what it means and how bad it feels to be denied medical attention even by government-owned hospitals, because one is too poor to afford it. I have been there, hence the empathy.
“I am doing this not because I am a politician, no. They are for everyone’s use. I hope that the business communities in the state should do the same by donating equipment to the hospitals rather than cash to the government.”
The Chief Medical Director, FMC, Lokoja, Dr Olatunde Alabi, said the machines will be useful beyond the COVID-19 era to service accident victims along the ever busy Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road.
Speaking with The Nation on the telephone, Alabi said that even though the centre has three ventilators, the ones donated were unique in that they are mobile and can be moved to locations other when needed.
“This is a big gesture to Kogi and Nigeria. The ventilators are life support machines that are meant to help patients having respiratory failure.
“These machines are not readily available even if you have the money.
“So, for her to go the extra mile to get the ventilators for the hospital is a huge thing for the institution.
“The unique thing about these ones is that they are portable ventilators; they are mobile, which is very good.
“Even after the COVID-19, they will still be very useful. So, what she has done is looking ahead.
“Lokoja is situated along the very busy Okene-Abuja express road where we have sometimes have a lot of road traffic accidents.
“For the first time in this hospital, we would be having mobile ventilators and she is the one that has brought them. She brought two mobile ventilators and one digital static ventilator.
“She is like a pacesetter setting good examples for others. This is philanthropy of the highest order and it is a sacrifice for humanity,” he said.