The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has converted the accident and emergency unit at the 063 NAF Hospital (NAFH) in Abuja to a COVID-19 management centre.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the ‘well-equipped’ accident and emergency unit was constructed and inaugurated in 2019 by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
“The unit has been further upgraded with necessary medical equipment, as part of facilities designated in the Armed Forces COVID-19 Response Team’s contributions to the national response.
“The NAF, in addition, has also equipped and put on standby the newly-built 100-bunk students’ hostel at the Air Force Girls’ Comprehensive School (AFGCS), Abuja as an additional management centre, in the event of an upsurge in cases,’’ he said.
Daramola said that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, after inspecting the two facilities on Friday, lauded the NAF’s leadership for converting and donating such facilities as part of its contributions to the Armed Forces Response Team’s plan.
“Ehanire noted that the gesture would go a long way in improving the overall effectiveness of the national response to the pandemic.
“The minister also acknowledged and thanked the NAF for the recent donation of additional 30 cylinders of liquid oxygen to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“He said that part of the oxygen had been deployed at the Asokoro management centre,’’ the statement said.
It also quoted Ehanire as solicited for the provision of additional quantity of oxygen from the NAF, due to the high demand, especially at the Lagos management centres.
The minister, who described the NAF as a strategic establishment, praised the service for sustaining the production of clinical oxygen from its Liquid Oxygen Plant in Yola.
He equally commended the recent reconfiguration of a C-130H aircraft to serve as an air ambulance for aeromedical evacuation, whenever the need arose.
Ehanire appreciated the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Nigeria for their responsiveness in providing necessary support to deal with the COVID-19 emergency.
On his part, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), expressed the readiness of the ministry to partner with the National Emergency Response Team in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Magashi, who was represented by the Director of Health Services, Mrs Akinlade Oluwatoyin, noted that this informed the decision to put in place proactive measures to curb its spread in the armed forces.
The minister also commended Abubakar for making the facilities available in sufficient time and with adequate equipment to meet the required standards of a COVID-19 management centre.
Present at the occasion were the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Maj.- Gen. Leo Irabor, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin.
The NAF Chief of Policy and Plans, AVM Oladayo Amao, who represented the CAS as well as other dignitaries from the two ministries, the AFN and allied parastatals were also present.