By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The European Union in collaboration with the German government has donated a solar hybrid system to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The solar hybrid system built to facilitate fight against the Covid-19 pandemic was commissioned at the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) of the NCDC in Gaduwa area of the Abuja on Tuesday.
In his keynote address, the minister of power, Engr. Saleh Mamman said the ministry has supported government’s effort to fight the pandemic through the deployment of solar hybrid systems at medical facilities managed by the NCDC.
He said: “The solar system reduces power supply cost and assures reliable and uninterrupted electricity supply to around 120 medical professionals.
“It will also account for 37% of annual energy consumption at the laboratory and save over N74 million used in buying diseal to fuel generators at the laboratory.”
According to the minister, the federal government is advancing efforts to ensure the country improve operations in renewable energy in the country.
Also speaking, the Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chike Ihekweazu stated that the solar grid system will go along way in supporting the agency’s fight against Covid-19 and also improve surveillance.
While appreciating the EU and the German government for the gesture, he added that training will be provided to NCDC staff to take over operations after the five year maintenance support from the EU and the German government elapse.
In his remarks, the deputy head of delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Mr. Alexandre Borges Gomes said the project is part of the EU’s assistance to emergency response in Nigeria.
He said the project is targetted at Supporting Nigeria’s testing laboratories with reliable power supply to cope with the pandemic, while further activities to improve power supply for medical facilities in NCDC and other public institutions are planned.
Similarly, the German deputy ambassador, Mr. Helmut Kulitz highlighted the relevance of electricity and health.
According to Mr. Kulitz, “Solar systems like the one deployed at NCDC laboratory help enhance the performance of medical facilities and as a result, end up saving lives.
“This stands true, not only for medical facilities in urban areas like these, but also for medical facilities that the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) has electrified via mini grid projects in rural areas,”