By Muhammad Auwal Adam, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The mandate of the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), established under Section 35 of the National Lottery Act 2005, is to facilitate the achievement of national development goals through the promotion of access to lottery funding for good cause projects, which are transformational and sustainable, with lasting impact for people and communities.
Since the Fund commenced operation, it has recorded achievements in many areas of national development.
They including: education, sports, provision of potable water, healthcare service delivery, among others.
But, unarguably, since Dr Bello Maigari, became the Executive Secretary of the Fund in 2019, the Fund has deepened healthcare delivery across the six geo-political zones.
From 2019 to date, the Fund has among other healthcare intervention programmes provided: Modern electric delivery beds to General Hospital, Gombe, ultra sound machine with monitor to General Hospital, Daura, Katsina State, double hydraulic delivery beds to the Primary Health Centre, Onikan, Lagos State.
Laboratory autoclave machines were also donated to many health institutions across the country.
World class medical equipment were also inaugurated by the Fund at Primary Healthcare Clinic, New Karu, Nasarawa State.
Vital medical equipment were also donated to Kugba Maternity and General Hospital, Agbowu, Abeokuta, Nneto Maternity Home, Abia, General Hospital Umunze, Anambra, Eja Memorial/Joint Hospital, Itigidi, Cross River State, and Joint Hospital Amaigbo, Imo State among others.
It is evident that health institutions and communities across the six geo-political zones have benefited from the Fund’s intervention.
Maigari, at the various presentations, stressed that Fund, would live up to its mandate.
Maigari, at the inauguration of medical equipment at Gbaja Randle Hospital, Mother and Child Care, General Hospital, Surulere, Lagos State, noted that the Fund was saddled with the mandate to promote social inclusion and healthy wellbeing of Nigerians.
He said that the Fund had, over the years, enhanced capacity delivery of many health facilities across the country to enable them cater for the health needs of patients, pregnant women, children and the vulnerable.
”Nevertheless, the Fund has significantly recorded impressive interventions in various aspects of nation-building.
”As I speak to you, Nigeria’s gaming market is the fastest growing in Africa, with the sales revenue approximately two trillion naira annually, this indicates that lottery is a wealth generator,” the NLTF boss said.
According to him, Nigeria’s gaming market, if properly utilised, would generate huge revenue for national development and create more job opportunities that would help actualise President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The executive secretary also reiterated the commitment of NLTF to live up its mandate when some vital medical equipment were presented to New Karu Primary Healthcare Centre in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Maigari said that the handing over of the 34 equipment was a significant milestone in the funding of lottery good causes project in the country.
He listed the items as one digital x-ray, 10 kidney discs, five thermometers, 10 HIV kits, one colour ultrasound machine and one genotype machine among other medical equipment.
“The essence of the intervention is to provide vital medical equipment to under-served communities to save lives and check the deteriorating health conditions leveraging the use of hi-tech diagnostic equipment,” he said.
He also stressed that the intervention was to provide high standards of care to vulnerable segments of the society in some states in the six geo-political zones.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who was represented by Mr Philip Dada, Commissioner for Works and Transportation, expressed delight over the gesture by the NLTF, stressing that it would reduce the already overstretched facilities at the clinic.
Maigari, who recently presented vital medical equipment to 12 primary healthcare centres selected from the six- geopolitical zones, said the equipment would provide more access to health delivery.
The items included digital x-ray machines, colour ultrasound machines, suction machines, kidney discs, hydraulic beds, wheelchairs, blood banks etc.
“Our hope is to see projects of this nature in every constituency in the country seeking to save and change lives for the good of all Nigerians.
“The goal is to ensure, everyday, Nigerians living in rural communities have access to modern laboratory and radiology services as a critical first step in receiving decent and quality care.
“It is alarming that people travel long distances from remote communities to urban areas just to obtain basic laboratory services such as x-rays, blood tests, etc. which often result in patients dying even before receiving proper medical attention.
“For us in the Trust Fund this is a major concern which needs to be addressed urgently, more so if we are to change the current narrative that our hospitals are not just mere consulting clinics.
“Hence this vital and constructive effort by the Fund to equip healthcare institutions with basic radiology facilities across the nation,” Maigari said.
Maigari noted that the NLTF was established under Section 35 of the National Lottery Act 2005 to take custody of a certain percentage of all national lottery operations in the country for investments to promote the wellbeing of the nation.
“Promotion of good causes is a social service to the nation which can cater for the sick and the unemployed and uneducated, the talented but undiscovered young sportsmen, the victims of natural and ecological disasters, the refugees and homeless.
“It is, therefore, an agency that can assist the government to promote social stability, poverty eradication, social cohesion and economic wellbeing,” he added.
When vital medical equipment were presented by NLTF to two healthcare centres in Edo in September, 2020, Maigari said that the equipment would complement the efforts of the state government to make a difference in saving lives.
The health institutions were, Usen General Hospital, in Ovia South-West Local Government Area, and Ogbesse Maternity Home, in Ovia North-East Local Government Area.
Bello listed the equipment as phototherapy machine, delivery beds, blood banks, haematocrit centrifuges, defibrillators and infant incubators
Other equipment were baby cots, hospital beds and mattresses, Olympus, bucket cent, sonicaid, cardiotocography, suction machine, autoclave, among others.
Bello who said the intervention was imperative as Nigeria was dealing with the devastating effects of COVID-19, noted that the agency was committed to ensuring better healthcare delivery across the country.
“The target is to cover the entire 774 local government areas across the nation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
“I am here to re-affirm that our intervention will continue to be pursued in a broad, distinctive, integrative and inclusive manner across the country, whilst also ensuring that good causes offer long-term value to society and give good value for lottery money.
“Let me reassure you that NLTF has put in place a robust and comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to help the agency track the progress of its intervention programmes, and in particular, the utilisation of these facilities in this hospital,” he said.
He, however, solicited support from stakeholders in the health sector in raising awareness on the value of lottery funding to modern life and its transformational legacy to the nation.
Earlier, Edwin Ajah, Zonal Coordinator, National Lottery Trust Fund South-South Zone, said the intervention would help those who cannot afford to pay for exorbitant fees in private hospitals to access vital services.
He noted that the agency is poised to change the lives of Nigerian citizens.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients, the Medical Director of Usen General Hospital, Solomon Aiguobasimwin, commended the agency for the donation, adding that the items would contribute significantly to healthcare delivery.
Undoubtedly, the grassroots intervention by NLTF is impactful and if sustained would deepen healthcare delivery across the country. (NANFeatures)