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Edo explains N1bn expenditure on COVID-19

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The Edo state Government on Monday explained how it went about the N1 billion it claimed it has spent in combating the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu, gave the breakdown while appearing on the Osasu Show, anchored by Osasu Igbinedion, saying the money was spent on medical equipment, isolation centres, PPEs and palliatives.

It would be recalled that Governor Godwin Obaseki claimed on April 19 that the state had spent over N1 billion in combating the spread of the deadly virus, which has been widely criticised, especially on social media.

Shaibu, who also serves as chairman of the state’s COVID-19 response technical committee, however said that “the over N1 billion that is becoming a controversy is crazy because, for instance, we have two new isolation centres that have been built, we have a 30-bed new isolation centre in Stella Obasanjo Hospital.

“We have a 12-bed isolation centre in Auchi, 12 female and 12 male, making a total of 24. The entire Stella Obasanjo Hospital now, that used to be 168-bed facility is being converted, as we speak, to a 400-bed facility, which will be also a holding centre and an isolation centre.

“Beyond that, equipment, ventilators, presently have become the hottest cake in terms of medical equipment in the entire country beyond PPEs. We procured recently, within this period, a total of 32 ventilators.

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“When you quantify the amount of the cost of a ventilator, an average of N8 million, you would know the cost of that.”

Shaibu further explained the need to buy dialysis machines for renal problems, springing from COVID-19, saying the money was spent on it.

He said: “We also procured dialysis machines because when we were investigating this particular ailment, we discovered that you can get to a state where you will need dialysis because of kidney failure and other renal problems.

“So, we also procured six dialysis machines for the new facility, we also procured two new mobile x-ray machines for this new facility. When you check from the angle of this equipment alone, you have over N600 million.

“We are not talking about the facility itself, the structure itself. Don’t forget we have a brand new isolation centre in Stella Obasanjo, which was an expansion of the old one.

“We had one existing one that had a 24-bed ICU facility that we were supposed to use for the Edo 2020 national sports festival, but because of the pandemic, we decided to build a new one, which is a 30-bed one. That infrastructure was built in 12 days.

“We procured over 10,000 PPEs. We have procured a lot of face masks, N91, N3, and all the necessary medical protective kits.

“Beyond that, we have also invested in palliatives, with the first phase of palliatives for our people took place last two weeks, and the second phase is about to kick start from this week.

“When you quantify those costs, you’d agree with me that a billion is already too small for what I said.”

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