Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has commended leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, for its consistent investments in the health sector and for partnering with government at various levels as well as relevant institutions to deepen access to quality and affordable healthcare in the country.
Dr. Osagie, who was speaking during the commissioning and handover of the newly refurbished WARD-A building of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in Idi- Araba, recently, lauded Airtel for transforming and modernising the building into a state-of-the-art medical facility and equipping the ward with cutting-edge connectivity technologies.
The minister noted that the Airtel project tallied with President Muhammadu Buhari’s next level modernisation agenda for teaching hospitals to improve the quality of care for Nigerians.
“Since the beginning of this administration, much investment has gone into our tertiary level centres including LUTH, directly or in partnership.
According to him, the project will engender access to improved medical care for Nigerians and will further increase the capacity of LUTH to deliver on its performance objectives, noting that Airtel’s efforts align with the Federal Government’s Next Level modernisation agenda for Teaching hospitals to improve quality of care for Nigerians.
The Minister also thanked Airtel for offering support to LUTH and other government institutions during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would like to extend the appreciation of the Federal Government to Airtel Nigeria for this excellent project, which, I am sure will improve the quality of medical care in LUTH. I am happy to note that Airtel Nigeria walked each step of the COVID-19 journey partnering with LUTH – a partnership which also saw the company donate 81 telephone lines to the hospital’s Psychosocial and Emotional Support Group, which reached out to provide psychosocial support to patients and their families following Covid-19 diagnosis, and reached over 20,000 patients in the Lagos metropolis, with Airtime provided for months in each phone line”, he stated.
Dr. Osagie also called on the private sector to emulate Airtel’s example by investing in Nigeria’s healthcare sector as this will help bridge the existing gap in the sector as well as deepen the quality of healthcare in the country.
Also commending Airtel’s efforts, Professor Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, said: “At the height of the first wave of the pandemic outbreak in Lagos between May and June 2020, the fear of a possible upsurge requiring more bed-space for admissions was real. Airtel Nigeria rose to the occasion, offering to help LUTH rehabilitate Block A to operationalise another 111-bed capacity at a cost of over N200 million. Airtel Nigeria stripped the building from rooftop to floor and replaced it, plumbing and all”, LUTH CMD stated.
“Our unreserved gratitude goes to Airtel Nigeria for this far-sighted good deed. If five Multinationals in Nigeria would do what your company has done for us yearly, life will be paradise on earth,” he added.
Bode said Airtel Nigeria had walked every step of the COVID-19 journey in partnership with LUTH.
He said in recent years, all the wards became run down and they had barely rehabilitated Block B two years ago when they had to surrender it for use as COVID-Isolation Centre 18 months ago.
In his response, Segun Ogunsanya, the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Africa Plc, said the inauguration of the renovated facility bears eloquent testimony to Airtel’s drive to make positive impact through sustainability, noting that the first pillar of Airtel’s newly unveiled Sustainability programme is to ensure inclusion leveraging on world-class infrastructure as well as connectivity.
“I felicitate with LUTH and the entire Nigerian health ecosystem as this project signifies how ‘little steps’ can make a huge difference. I thank the leadership of LUTH for choosing to partner with us in positively impacting the lives of Nigerians, especially the underprivileged. At Airtel, our vision is to TRANSFORM LIVES and to promote inclusion whether it is digital, financial, social, or healthcare. This vision is at the heart of our newly launched sustainability framework,” Ogunsanya said.
In his submission, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Chemmenkotil Surendran, noted that Airtel is committed to transforming lives and fulfilling its promises.
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“For us at Airtel, today also holds special significance because we have kept to our word and promise. Some months ago, we approached the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Chris Bode to make known our intention to partner with LUTH in delivering quality and affordable healthcare to Nigerians, especially the vulnerable, hard to reach, and underprivileged. We later announced our intention to pledge N200m to renovate and upgrade the technological architecture of the building. Today, I am glad to share that we have fully redeemed our pledge”, he stated.
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