The Nigerian government has taken delivery of the first set of 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of a total of 1.4 million doses designated for Nigeria by the AU/MTN.
The vaccines are a combination of doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility, and from the African Union’s (AU) COVID-19 vaccination programme, towards which the MTN Group contributed $25 million. The vaccines will be distributed among health workers in Nigeria by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
Commenting on the vaccines, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Director-General of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) said, “On behalf of health care workers in Nigeria, we commend the efforts of the Nigerian government and the African Union in the fight against COVID-19, and we thank MTN for their collaboration. The arrival of these vaccines is a major step, as we try to stay ahead of the virus. We need all the collaboration we can get, and I implore more organisations to join this drive for the Nigerian people.”
Also Speaking, the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu expressed appreciation on behalf of the government.
“The donation of COVID-19 vaccines is truly helpful, and we are grateful. We can only succeed against COVID-19 when we fight together. These vaccines will go a long way in protecting health workers, who are on the frontline, and need all the protection they can get at this critical moment, hence the prioritisation of their vaccinations.”
Expanding on the power of partnership and collaboration, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola said, “I thank the Nigerian government and the African Union for the opportunity they granted MTN to collaborate and contribute towards the delivery of these vaccines.
“The ongoing threat of COVID-19 requires a vast and accelerated effort by both the private and public sectors. Partnerships like this practically demonstrate what can be achieved when we work together for Africa’s (and indeed Nigeria’s) progress. We are truly privileged to have been able to play our part in contributing to the government’s efforts to protect and save lives.”
At the start of the pandemic, MTN Nigeria collaborated with the government to curb the spread of the virus, in large part via the introduction of MTN’s Y’ello Hope platform. Y’ello Hope encompasses a broad range of interventions and programmes valued at approximately N25 billion, which are designed to offer relief where it is needed most.
These are aimed at supporting Nigeria’s people, customers, communities, and the various levels of government.
Through Y’ello Hope the company provided free-to-access services (including SMS and data) to the most vulnerable, facilitated zero-rated access to healthcare websites, deployed the ‘Wear-it-for-me’ campaign to help create awareness around the importance of wearing masks, and made a N1 billion donation to the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 CACOVID).
In addition, the MTN Foundation delivered more than 70,000 pieces of essential Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, through MTN’s collaboration with its key partners, is another step taken as part of the Y’ello Hope platform, and MTN will continue to seek out ways to make a meaningful difference in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Brand Spur Nigeria reports that the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 162,082 confirmed cases.
On the 23rd of March 2021, 214 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 162,076 cases have been confirmed, 148,530 cases have been discharged and 2,031 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A total of 1.73 million tests have been carried out as of March 23rd, 2021 compared to 1.68 million tests a day earlier.