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.
The well-equipped Accident and Emergency Unit, which was constructed and commissioned in 2019 by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has been further upgraded with necessary medical equipment as part of facilities designated in the Armed Forces COVID-19 Response Team’s contribution 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.
Speaking shortly after inspecting the 2 facilities today, 19 June 2020, the Hon Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, lauded the NAF’s leadership for converting and donating such superb facilities as part of its contribution to the Armed Forces Response Team’s plan, noting that the gesture would go a long way towards 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, disclosing that part of the oxygen had been deployed at the Asokoro Management Centre.
He however used the occasion to solicit for the provision of additional quantity of oxygen from the NAF due to the high demand, especially at the Lagos Management Centres.
Speaking further, Dr Ehanire, while describing the NAF as a strategic establishment, praised the Service for sustaining the production of clinical oxygen from its Liquid Oxygen Plant in Yola and equally commended the recent reconfiguration of a C-130H aircraft to serve as an air ambulance for Aeromedical Evacuation, whenever the need arises.
He concluded by appreciating the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) for their responsiveness in providing necessary support to deal with the COVID-19 Emergency.
On his part, the Minister of Defence (HMOD), Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), who was represented by the Director of Health Services, Mrs Akinlade Oluwatoyin, expressed the readiness of the MOD to partner with the National Emergency Response Team in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic which, he noted, informed the decision to emplace proactive measures to curb its spread in the Armed Forces.
The Minister also commended the CAS for making the facilities available in sufficient time as well as with adequate equipment to meet the required standards of a COVID-19 Management Centre.
Also present at the occasion were the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Major General Leo Irabor, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; the NAF Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, who represented the CAS, as well as other dignitaries from the 2 Ministries, the AFN and allied Parastatals.
Meanwhile, as part of its efforts to mitigate the hardships currently being experienced by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sabon Birni Community in Sabon Birni Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State due to the activities of armed bandits, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday, 19 June 2020, commenced a 3-day medical outreach in the area.
The medical outreach, an initiative of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is also intended to enhance good civil-military relations between the NAF and the local community for improved information sharing.
During the 3 days of the outreach, the NAF Medical Team will undertake health education talks; free consultations and dispensing of medications; de-worming and immunization of children; distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets as well as visual acuity checks and provision of prescription eye glasses.
Aside the healthcare services, some palliatives including food items, soaps, blankets and footwear were also distributed to assuage the sufferings of the IDPs.
Flagging off the medical outreach, the Sokoto State Commissioner of Health, Dr Muhammad Ali Inname, thanked the NAF for extending the gesture to Sabon Birni LGA describing it as timely and apt.
He hoped that the cordial relationship and the cooperation between the NAF and the Sokoto State Government would continue to flourish.
Speaking further, Dr Inname disclosed that the outreach was the second edition he would witness as Commissioner of Health in the State, where the NAF would bring its expertise and support to its various host communities.
According to him, “there is no better time than now to provide the medical support, considering the recent incidents that Sabon Birni LGA has witnessed. I believe that the medical outreach will go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the people of the Community”.
He therefore called on the people to take advantage of the free services being provided to meet their various healthcare needs.
The Leader of the NAF Medical Team, Group Captain Ali Tanko, who is also the Director of Public Health and Humanitarian Services, NAF, stated that the medical outreach was the initiative of the CAS, who was moved by the plight of the displaced persons in the Local Government and promptly directed the Team to take swift action to provide them succour.
The District Head of Sabon Birni, Sarkin Gobir, Alhaji Isa Muhammadu Bawa, while receiving the palliatives on behalf of the IDPs and other members of the Community, expressed his profound appreciation to the NAF for the humanitarian gesture which he described as timely as it would further assuage the hardships of the people.
The people of the community, who turned out in their large numbers, also expressed their gratitude to the NAF for the free medical services
In attendance during the flag-off ceremony were the Commander 119 Composite Group, Group Captain Garuba Bello; Deputy Director Directorate of Civil Military Relations, Headquarters NAF, Group Captain Musa Aileru; the Sarkin Yama Sabon Birni, Alhaji Mainasara Salisu; and the Vice Chairman Sabon Birni LGA, Alhaji Salihu Hassan Danjuma, among others.
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