COVID-19: NNPC, Partners Begin Construction of 200-Bed Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yenagoa
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)-led Oil & Gas Industry Intervention Initiative on COVID-19 at the weekend began the third phase of their support programme with the ground breaking ceremony for a permanent Emergency and Infectious Diseases Hospital for the South-South Region in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr Kennie Obateru on Sunday said the event flagged–off the intervention group’s plan to deliver lasting medical infrastructure across the six-geopolitical zones in the Country.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said the project was part of the Nigerian Oil Industry Coalition initiative led by the NNPC to support the nation’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Sylva, Bayelsa State was considered a suitable site for the project given its pioneering role in the history of oil and gas in the country and its current contribution of about 40 per cent to onshore crude oil output.
He reiterated that the oil industry was contributing about N21billion worth of support provided through internal procurement processes of contributing companies.
Also, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, disclosed that the corporation was working with its Joint Venture partners across the Upstream, Midstream and Downstream sectors to support the Health Sector.
Kyari who spoke through the corporation’s Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), who is also the coordinator of the initiative in the Petroleum Industry, Mr. Bala Wunti, said that the NNPC-led intervention had allocated the N21billion-worth of support to various International Oil Companies, Indigenous operators with Joint Venture stakes across the oil sector.
He explained that the infectious diseases hospital to be sited on a 1,586 square metre-space would serve as zonal isolation centre for COVID-19 and would serve as a referral hospital for communicable diseases after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Managing Director of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Mr Lorenzo Fiorillo stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 disease had put a lot of strain on healthcare systems and personnel globally.
Speaking through the Head of Community Relations, (NAOC,) Fiorillo said that the company remained sympathetic to help navigate the threat posed by COVID-19 pandemic, which he explained, had resulted in millions of deaths worldwide.
He said the project being delivered in Bayelsa State would engender a valuable medical asset to the South-South region of the Country.
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, who earlier applauded Sylva for attracting the project to the state, performed the ground-breaking ceremony in company of other dignitaries including Mr Chukwuemaka Nwajiobi, Minister of State for Education, who represented the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha at the occasion.