Rivers State is set to start testing for COVID-19 in Port Harcourt with the receipt of the state’s first set of testing equipment from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) among many other medical hardware and consumables presented to the state governor, Nyesom Wike .
Osagie Okunbor, managing director and Country chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, who presented two Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines, the main testing equipment, ventilators and other medical items at the government house in Port Harcourt, said SPDC and its joint venture partners were committed to supporting the state to stop the spread of COVID-19 or any disease outbreak in the state.
Okunbor, who was represented by the deputy managing director of SPDC, Simon Roddy, said, “While we remain committed to supporting the state government to deepen its efforts at managing the pandemic, we recognise inadequate testing capability in the Niger Delta and it is in response to this that we are presenting the state with COVID-19 compatible PCR machines and kits, while further extending medical equipment support to the holding centre at the Eleme General Hospital.”
The SPDC boss said the donation, the third in a series, was aimed at further enhancing the clinical capacities and capabilities at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital.
Also Mobil Producing Nigeria, an Exxonmobil affiliate, and operator of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation/mobil Producing Nigeria Joint Venture is donating two ambulances, 20 additional vehicles and medical supplies to various state governments and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to assist in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Akwa Ibom State Government is receiving two ambulances for emergency cases and 15 other vehicles, while Rivers State is receiving five vehicles. Medical supplies, including World Health Organization certified COVID-19 test kits, sample collection kits and hospital beds valued at more than N90 million will be distributed to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, as well as Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.
“We are actively working with our partner, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and other stakeholders on ways to assist in halting the spread of the virus,” said Paul Mcgrath, chairman and managing director of Exxonmobil companies in Nigeria.
Mcgrath said that the NNPC/MPN JV’S efforts are being guided by government agencies’ advice with regard to specific requirements and determining the areas of greatest need.
“Supporting Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 requires a broad, collective effort that should follow the guidelines established by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, as well as the state and federal governments.”
Exxonmobil’s donations are part of an oil and gas industry effort coordinated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to provide medical supplies, deploy additional equipment and to support medical infrastructure and in-patient treatment.