The Federal Ministry of Health in a tweet on Thursday begged Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, to support the country with ventilators for its COVID-19 patients.
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Although the tweet was later retracted, it was not enough to spare the Federal Government of backlash from Nigerians. Many lamented the disgrace and embarrassment the country was made to suffer by begging for ventilators from a private individual.
Newsbreak examines how the running cost of senators could be helpful in the acquisition of ventilators for sufferers of COVID-19.
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Each senator earns a monthly running cost of N13.5 million. This implies that the senate, comprising of 109 members, will earn N1.471 billion monthly.
Findings from online medical equipment dealers in Ikeja and Surulere showed that an ICU ventilator, such as the one needed to treat a COVID-19 patient, costs an average of N11 million while a portable one costs around N7.5 million. This implies that the senate can, by donating a month’s salary, purchase 127 ICU ventilators for patients of COVID-19 or 196 portable ventilators.
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However, the senate has announced that it will donate only half of its members’ salaries until the COVID-19 pandemic eases in the country.
Not sparing the House of Representatives, each member earns around N8 million to N12 million, depending on the flow of money into the account of the House.
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Calculating with N10 million, which is the average of both sums, the House earns N3.6 billion. Still using the above figures, the House can provide 327 ICU ventilators or 480 portable ventilators.
Also, worthy of the note is the N37 billion set aside for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex. This sum will provide 3,363 ventilators for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, which is more than enough.
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Nigeria, according to reports, have just 169 ventilators in 16 out of the nation’s 36 states.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the health minister, in a previous address, said not all COVID-19 patients need ventilators. This may be good news for Nigerians.
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But with the prediction of the same ministry that the number of cases is expected to rise, it may be imperative to start investing in the acquisition of ventilators.