By Chioma Obinna
As part of efforts to encourage health workers in the frontline of coronavirus containment, one of Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, Sterling Bank Plc, has launched an N1 billion Health Workers’ Fund to support frontline healthcare professionals who are taking care of persons infected with the Coronavirus disease in the country.
To kick-start the fund, the Bank has donated N25 million while some public-spirited individuals have also donated N2 million, bringing the amount raised so far to N27 million.
Speaking during a virtual press conference in Lagos, weekend, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, appealed to well-meaning and public-spirited Nigerians to contribute to the fund through the website – Giving.ng, a crowdfunding platform.
Suleiman said it is imperative that tangible efforts are made to protect the healthcare personnel at the frontline of fighting the COVID-19, especially given their low number in the country.
According to Suleiman, the Bank understands that getting the money with which to pay healthcare workers on the frontline and acquire protection equipment for them is critical. Consequently, the bank would be working with people who are experts in public health or connected with the healthcare system to identify the healthcare workers who are deserving of this intervention, he said.
“Combating COVID-19 is beyond the capacity of any single institution or sector. It is a crisis that is stretching the capacity of healthcare infrastructure and personnel world over. And stopping this pandemic requires the elimination of boundaries to resources. One way to do that is by setting funds aside to support brave medical responders at this time,” he added.
Continuing, he disclosed that the Bank has set up an independent Governance Board made up of seasoned health professionals to administer the fund while the bank concentrates on raising funds from various donors.
“Although we started the process we have pulled back. We have set up a board that I am incredibly proud of. They will join us in solving this problem which is the most important part and they are highly respected which makes the process credible,” Suleiman said.