By Ndidi Chukwu
Construction of “Warehouse-in-a-Box” project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Global Fund, Federal Ministry of Health and National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Tuesday finally had a leap, having passed through several huddles after 20 years of its initiation.
The ground breaking ceremony of the project-a central cold chain room sited in Abuja, will complement Nigeria’s Federal Medical stores in Oshodi Lagos, which has been a central storage hub for health products procured by the Federal Ministry of Health, local and international Agencies and Non-Governmental Agencies working with the FMoH.
“Warehouse-in-Box will provide ample space for safe and quality medications for Nigerians in need of medical care” said USAID Mission Director Michael T. Harvey.
Harvey said It is in effort of the USAID, to fight Tuberculosis, AIDS, and Malaria, with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. “This will help us tackle the problem before us in the area of HIV/AIDS, and this project is showing the seriousness of the Nigerian government to meet the needs of its people and to lead in Africa” Harvey further noted.
Supervising Minister of Health Khaliru Alhassan, in his key note address said the Nigerian Government has lost hug amount of money in trying to maintain drugs, as he expressed optimism that the warehouse will address the issues.
“There has been pressure on the facilities as most of the stores lack capacity and equipment to accommodate the volume of medicine and other health commodities expected to be stored at the facility” the minister noted
“We are yet to imagine the impact this will have in the health sector, it will remove financial barrier, and translated to a better well-coordinated health delivery system in the country, and will improve Nigeria’s health sector” said Khaliru.
The 3,000 square meter of about 1,500 pallet spaces according to Dr. Vera Ogbechie, Director Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health will house three different warehouses and will be easily accessible to northern axis of the nation when completed in five months.
Investing 3.4 million US dollars to the project is about the gains that will come of it, Dr. John Idoko Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS said NACA is not just a partner but a strong partner, “We are having all the necessary modern technology in place and linking it up to all zonal chain in the nation the issue of drug chain challenge in Nigeria will be surmounted”
“There is no health system if the supply chain is not functional, it has to be fully equipped before we can say we have a supply chain” Idoko said
Elated by the new project, Dr. Ado mohammad, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency in his goodwill message said “a large component of the health act have to do with supply chain, and we are happy this launch is happening at the right time”