More than 900 individual donors, including celebrities, and about twenty corporate organizations, have donated to the N1 Billion Health Workers Fund initiated by Giving.ng, Nigeria’s premier crowdfunding platform.
By the end of July, the Fund, which was launched in April 2020 and seeded with N25 Million Naira by leading commercial bank, Sterling Bank Plc, had paid over N25.7 million in hazard allowances to one hundred and eleven frontline health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
A statement by Giving.ng shows that since the Fund was inaugurated, not less than 900 Nigerians, including celebrities and 20 corporate bodies, have provided support.
In the statement, Governing Board Chairman of the Health Workers Fund, Dr Olaokun Soyinka, commended the resilience of the health workers and their dedication to duty. He appreciated the generous gesture of all donors for what he described “as a boost to the oft-neglected area of incentivizing health workers, which is critical.”
He disclosed that one hundred and eleven health workers have been paid N100,000.00 for three consecutive months, across seven states of the federation. “The virus is still very much with us. Against the backdrop of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country, we need to incentivize more of our protectors. Therefore the Fund will continue to enroll new beneficiaries till October 31st, 2020.” The Fund offers a 3-month augmentation of hazard pay to enrolled workers.
Dr. Soyinka added that “we are hoping to expand both the scope and reach of the allowances. With our plan to extend the period of intervention, we will be counting on getting more partners on the project as the board evolves rapidly to stay ahead of COVID-19 developments and will discharge our duty transparently.”
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, the Health Workers’ Fund is the bank’s battle cry. Even if the country builds 1,000 new Intensive Care Units (ICUs) today and healthcare workers are unable to attend to patients because they are falling sick, there will be a problem.
He added that; “understanding the challenges of the health workers before the pandemic and during the early days is a critical motivation behind our support for the project. We are glad to have supported a project that has carried on brilliantly.”
Other brands that have supported the project include Pulse.ng, Trace TV, Hygeia HMO, Cerebre Digital Media, Netcore Solutions, Ventures Africa, ONTV, while celebrity partners include Chef Fregz, Desmond Elliot, the Mbadiwe Twins, Toby Grey, Sly Williams, Fawazzy, D’Angel, and MC Rhelax among others.