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Communities respond to Lafarge Africa’s COVID-19 intervention

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World Cement,

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lafarge Africa has deployed a N500 million intervention fund to provide medical infrastructure, food and essential medications to its host communities. During the first phase of the intervention launched on the 6th of April 2020, the company converted two of its facilities in Sagamu and Ashaka to be used as isolation centres, and also provided infrastructure support such as generators, ambulances and critical personal protection equipment (PPE) for health professionals and its host states. In the second phase of the intervention, Lafarge distributed food and medical supplies to its host communities targeting 60 000 beneficiaries across 10 000 families.

Elenda Giwa-Amu, Non-Executive Director, Lafarge Africa Plc said: “Our operations are built on the key pillars of sustainability and health and safety. We are therefore mobilising resources at our disposal at this time to offer succour to Nigerians just as we are collaborating with government agencies at all levels to build enduring structures to end the pandemic”.

While presenting the relief materials to residents in the Lagos Island East Local Government Area of Lagos State, the Country Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa Plc, Khaled El Dokani, said: ‘At Lafarge Africa, we are deeply committed to our host communities and we are happy to work with them to improve lives through our presence and active citizenship. As a member of LafargeHolcim, the world’s leading building materials and cement maker that operates in over 70 countries, we operate as a key economic player through our activities in the local communities”.

He continued, “Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, we maintained health facilities in our host community in Ashaka. Today, we have a fully equipped isolation centre in Ashaka and Sagamu to support the state government’s efforts to curb the pandemic. We are now making a further contribution to the health and resilience of all our host communities by donating essential food items and critical medicines to make it easier for people to survive during this pandemic as the Nigerian economy gradually rebounds”.

As a committed corporate citizen that has manufactured cement and supplied innovative building materials for over 60 years in Nigeria, the company is supporting the efforts of the Federal, State and Local Governments to fight COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State had recently commended Ashaka Cement, a subsidiary of Lafarge Africa, for donating a fully equipped isolation facility and other items to complement the state government’s efforts in containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. Speaking through his Deputy, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau, at the handing over of fully equipped isolation centre and other items, he noted that the Ashaka Cement Plc has demonstrated an exemplary corporate social responsibility role that will impact on humanity for years to come.

Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr., Noimot Salako Oyedele, also acknowledged the contributions of Lafarge to nation building. She commended the company during the formal hand-over of 2 units of modern ambulances, a fully equipped isolation centre in Sagamu, personal protective equipment (PPEs) etc, to support the medical efforts in Ogun State.

Community leaders and residents’ response

Distributing food packages containing rice, beans, garri, semolina etc in Lagos State, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, the Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development Director, said: “Lafarge is collaborating with all Nigerians to fight COVID-19. We started by disseminating information about the pandemic, providing our employees, host communities and stakeholders with the knowledge required in preventing the spread of the infection. We have also donated ambulances and thousands of personal protective equipment to protect medical staff at the frontlines. Today, we are taking the battle against the pandemic again into our host communities, enabling people to stay at home and stay safe. We can curtail the spread of COVID-19 only if we fully comply with the directives issued by the government and the health authorities”.

Royal fathers, Chiefs, community leaders and members of Community Relations Committees across all the host communities in the country who received the food packages and medical essentials expressed their heartfelt appreciation at the gesture.

In Lagos, the State Honourable Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Dawodu, said the gesture by Lafarge will go a long way to keep families comfortable in their homes and he also used the medium to urge the people to improve their personal hygiene as part of efforts to eradicate the scourge of the pandemic.

The Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi in Ogun State, expressed appreciation to Lafarge and assured the company of a continued collaboration in order to sustain their enduring cordial relationship. According to him, the food packages will help to alleviate the economic hardship brought about by the pandemic.

Grace Eyoita, a beneficiary from Mbobui Community in Mfamosing Cross River State, said: “I thank Lafarge for their kindness to my community especially, the families in the community”, just as Hon. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr, the Honourable Commissioner for Finance and Secretary Covid-19 Taskforce CRS, commended Lafarge for the kind gesture.

Community Health Centres receive essential drugs and equipment

In addition to the provision of food relief packages to over 60 000 beneficiaries, Lafarge has also enhanced the conditions of community health centres and clinics in Ewekoro and Sagamu in Ogun State, Ashaka in Gombe and Mfamosing in Cross River State through the donation of primary drugs and secondary care facilities as well as other personal protection equipment to boost health care delivery in the host communities.

The donations of the medical equipment are to further boost the preparedness and capacity of the community health centres to offer quality healthcare to indigenes as well as to contain the community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic within the host communities.

According to the Managing Director, Ashaka Cement Plc, Ibrahim Aminu, “The well-equipped isolation centre will improve the capacity of the state government to accommodate and properly treat infected patients without putting the lives of others at risk.” Aminu also noted that the medical supplies were based on careful analysis of the profiles of the people residing in the host communities.

The medical supplies donated include primary drugs such as analgesics, multivitamins, anti-malaria drugs, secondary care drugs such as anti-hypertension and anti-diabetes, urinalysis kits and personal protection equipment such as disinfectants, nose masks, gloves, thermometers etc.

Lafarge has also established health and safety initiatives in host communities through interventions that support water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) scheme, as well as other continuous engagements and sensitisation programmes at the grassroots level.

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