By Racheal Ishaya
The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Chidi Izuwah has said that plans to concession the medical warehouse facilities in Abuja and Lagos had reached advance stage.
Izuwah said this on Monday in Abuja when he went on a pre handover monitoring visit to the Abuja Premier Medical Warehouse facility, also known as “Warehouse in a box.
The Warehouse is a medical facility that safely stores lifesaving medicines needed in the country.
It was constructed by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
The two warehouses located in Lagos and Abuja are prefabricated and identical, with a combined total 6,530m2 of floor space and the capacity to hold 7,680 pallet spaces, and cost 5.1 million dollars (N1.56 billion).
Izuwah said that with the approval of the Federal Executive Council, the government decided to concession the facility, to ensure it runs at no cost to the government.
To this end, Izuwah said that the visit was to ensure that the facility was in good shape before handing over to MDS logistics who had emerged the preferred bidder for the concessioning of the facility.
“The preferred PPP partner will manage and operate the facilities for the next five years. FEC has since approved the project on Dec. 6, 2018.
“Some of the benefits of the Warehouse include to promote more efficient and integrated health sector supply chain management and provide effective storage of pharmaceutical commodities,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso said that the medical warehouse had been of great service to the country in closing the huge supply gap in the storage of public health commodities.
The Minister, who was represented by Dr Omobolanle Olowu, the Head of PPP at the Ministry said the Warehouse provided safe storage for medicine required to meet the country’s annual needs for public health commodities.
Folorunso said that in case of any outbreak, the country was prepared to administer life saving medication, thanks to the storage facilities.
Also, the USAID Representative, Mr Kehinde Otto said that the primary reason the agency invested in the warehouse was to ensure that drugs donated by the international community was safely stored until distributed to the needy.
He reiterated the commitment of the USAID to continue to partner with the Nigerian government to improve healthcare services in the country.