Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s foremost financial institutions has announced a $130,000 (N50million) donation to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. The donation was made into a fund set up by 54gene, an African genomics research, services and development company working closely with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in the country by up to 1,000 additional tests a day, by buying testing instruments and critical biosafety materials such as biosafety cabinets and personal protective equipment urgently needed to keep frontline healthcare workers safe. The procured equipment will be installed in general hospitals and laboratories across the country, and will remain in place even after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to be used in the case of future outbreaks.
In addition, there will also be extensive training and support to medical practitioners and volunteers working across the country to curb the menace. Announcing the donation, the Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said: “Community is one of our core values at Union Bank, and there’s no better time to live this value than now. A critical need for the country at this time is to scale up our testing capabilities and give us a better chance of slowing the spread of the virus. We are therefore pleased to be supporting 54gene who is directly collaborating with NCDC and World Health Organisation who are coordinating Nigeria’s Covid-19 response.
While commending Union Bank on its donation, the CEO of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong also said: “The rapid and assured response from some of Nigeria’s most reputable institutions, such as Union Bank, to join us in our fight against this deadly disease is highly welcome, and we thank them for their unwavering support. They, like us, understand the need for a multi-stakeholder, co-ordinated plan, that can be implemented almost immediately, as we work together as a community, side-by-side, to fight COVID-19 and protect our population.”