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Aliko Dangote Foundation Engages 54gene Laboratory to Conduct 1,000 COVID-19 Test per Day in Kano

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The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), a philanthropic endeavor of Aliko Dangote,  has contracted 54Gene, a molecular diagnostics company specialized in research, and diagnostics, to immediately set up a 400 test/day capacity laboratory in Kano State.

54Gene is accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and has already set up labs in Lagos and in Ogun States.

The lab, which was inaugurated yesterday – May 3rd in Kano, will start with a testing capacity of 400 tests a day, increasing to 1,000 tests a day by May 10th.

 

The lab will be set up at Muhammadu Buhari Hospital in Kano, where an isolation center is currently operational.

The President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said the foundation is directly supporting the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 containment efforts in Kano State.

According to Dangote, this new investment in support of increasing nation-wide testing, comes in addition to ADF’s support through the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

He explained: “CACOVID is already setting up a 310 bed isolation center at Sani Abacha stadium in Kano. We are extending that capacity by another 150 beds at the Abubakar Imam Urology Centre in Kano, which is being converted into an isolation center now. These two centers will be operational pending the final validation by the Infection Prevention and Control team, which we expect will be completed in the coming days.”

Dangote pledged the  Foundation’s commitment  to reduce the number of lives lost to  diseases, such as COVID-19, Ebola and other deadly viruses in the State.

He said the foundation would not relent in using its investments in health, education, and economic empowerment to help lift people out of sickness and poverty.

Speaking on the efforts of the Foundation to assist the Federal Government in curtailing the spread of COVID-19, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, added that ADF is also supporting the Rapid Response Teams in their work to identify suspected covid-19 cases across the healthcare centers in Kano. “ADF will immediately handover to the Kano RRT, 10 new ambulances (4 that ae immediately available and 6 over the next week), two vehicles and PPEs to support the transportation of patients from different parts of the state”, she said.

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She said that the Foundation is also supporting the Kano State Covid-19 contact call center that responds to citizen queries and concerns around Covid-19 and refers people to the proper place for follow up, by providing extra phone lines and ICT infrastructure as well as training for the call center staff.

On training, she disclosed: “We are supporting training and incentives for covid-19 health workers.  We will provide hazard incentives and protections for the healthcare and lab workers who are working on the covid-19 response. We are also providing training to them, initially online and via distance learning, and will complement his with in-person training in Kano under strict IPC protocols developed in conjunction with the NCDC.

“ADF will continue to provide PPEs to the Kano State Covid-19 Taskforce, which will then be distributed to the hospitals as appropriate. Items already supplied include coveralls, gloves, masks, respirators, goggles, boots and sanitizers.

“We are expanding the CACOVID communications strategy in Kano by adding more communications and advocacy around Covid-19 prevention across radio, TV and traditional and community leaders.”

Commending ADF, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje stated: “There’s no doubt we started on a shaky foundation, with assistance of ADF, we can see that a friend in deed is a friend in need. We are very grateful for the mobile testing Centre witch will launch with 400 samples per day and after a week, increase to 1,000 tests  per day

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“It is now left for us to intensify efforts to collect samples. We will ensure that all that 44 Local Government Council have collection centres.  Here in the metropolitan local government, we will have 100s of collection centres because this is where the majority of the population is”.

The governor added that the state has intensify efforts to create awareness about the reality of coronavirus.

He commended the Dangote Foundation for always occupying the forefront of helping in critical times like this.

Speaking on the collaboration, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, the 40ft structure built with container technology, provides a unique plug-and-play solution.

Ene-Obong  explained that the mobile laboratory is also fully kitted with vital instruments including  an autoclave, bio-safety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes, and PCR machines to support COVID-19 testing.

He stated: “Our mobile lab is fully equipped with all the vital instruments required for COVID-19 testing, and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport. Its unique plug and play feature eliminates the logistics of shipping samples to another location for the processing which reduces turnaround times for test results and allows clinicians to manage and treat patients accurately, sooner rather than later.”

Ene-Obong said the company  has also helped build capacity by equipping molecular scientists with the necessary skill set required to handle the instruments in the mobile lab as they would in regular molecular testing laboratories.

“Our mobile lab removes the restriction imposed by permanent buildings and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport and the mobile capability it provides”, he added.

 

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Doubble.Ng Offers Investors 100% Investment Income, Safety

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Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, has offered a safe option for investments in its Doubble.Ng product to discerning investors seeking double-digit investment income and safety in this period of heightened market volatility and unpredictable macro-economic environment.

 

Doubble.Ng is an investment product which is denominated in Naira and Dollar with short and long-term options.

 

According to Adekunle Feyisitan, the Product Manager, Sterling Bank, Doubble.Ng was designed to address the concerns of individuals who are looking to accumulate savings and regular investment income over a specific timeline to plan for future business or lifestyle needs.

 

He listed benefits of the product options to include guaranteed income stream and growth for a fixed period of time, safety from market volatility, ability to access loan facilities against balance and opportunity to transfer the annuity to a spouse or any other named beneficiary.

 

Feyisitan said, “With Doubble.Ng, a customer can choose to invest either a lump sum in one contribution or in smaller monthly contributions, which could be for the duration of 12 to 120 months with all pay-outs remitted either monthly or as a lump sum once target is achieved to named beneficiaries.

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“It empowers individuals to plan towards future consistent cash outflows such as payment for children’s further education, mortgages or funds for business start-up. Doubble.Ng is actually the perfect investment vehicle for those planning to transition from paid employment to owner-businesses and need to plan the cash flow in the business growth years”.

 

The product manager added that Doubble.Ng target option allows the beneficiary to set target saving and interest income in Naira or Dollar over a specified period while additional voluntary contributions can be made into the investment account apart from the regular contributions based on the initial set date because an investor is at liberty to take up multiple plans.

 

He assured customers of efficient and prompt service delivery and urged those in active employment as well as entrepreneurs to take advantage of the high-income growth product to maximise returns on investment at this volatile and uncertain time.

 

The product offers four variants to discerning investors, including 3, 5 and 10 year plans as well as short-term target investments.

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With a 3-year contract plan during which the investor makes monthly contributions for the first three years, Sterling Bank will pay out the invested amount plus returns to the beneficiary every month for the following three years. It has returns on investment of 125 percent.

 

In the 10-year contract plan whereby an investor makes monthly contribution for the first five years while Sterling Bank will pay out the invested amount plus returns on the investment every month to the beneficiary for the next five years with returns on investment of 150 percent.

 

The Doubble 10 investment option is a 15-year contract plan during which an investor makes monthly contributions for the first five years and Sterling pays out invested funds plus returns on investment to the beneficiary every month for the next 10 years with a 100 percent returns on investment.

 

The novel product, which provides fixed rates of return for a fixed period of time, can be conveniently accessed via the OneBank mobile app or Doubble.Ng website from anywhere in the world by investors.

 

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Over 60 frontline workers benefit from Health Workers Fund

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The N1 billion Health Workers Fund set up to support frontline health workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic has supported more than 60 frontline health workers since it launched in March.

Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, Chairman, Governance Board of the Fund, disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos over the weekend. The seasoned public health expert and former Commissioner of Health in Ogun State said almost N59 million has been donated to the Health Workers’ Fund by public spirited corporate organisations and individuals.

“We are very proud of our strides so far, and are excited by the opportunity to provide succor to frontline health workers in the country. More than 60 health care workers from different parts of the country have been paid tokens in appreciation of their service at this critical time. We want them to be motivated when they walk into COVID-19 Isolation centres because some of their basic needs are sorted.

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“With the rising cases of infections daily, we urge Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to donate now in support of frontline health workers wherever they are in the country. They are doing whatever it takes to protect us. We can all play a part in empowering and motivating to function effectively on the job”, Dr Olaokun Soyinka appeals.

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He called on public-spirited Nigerians to contribute their quota by visiting www.giving.ng/covid19 to make donations. Leading the donor’s chart, Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, supported the N1 billion Health Workers’ Fund with N25 million.


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FIRSTBANK LEVERAGES TECHNOLOGY TO PROMOTE VIRTUAL BANK ACCOUNT OPENING FOR CUSTOMERS

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Customers

 

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that it has reinforced its technology infrastructure to enable anyone in the country open a FirstBank account through their mobile phones, without visiting any of its branches nationwide.

 

The investment in the Bank’s mobile banking infrastructure is in furtherance of the need to deepen financial inclusion in the country, enabling account opening to be carried out on its *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile (self-service telephone banking), its website – www.firstbanknigeria.com – as well as the Bank’s staff, through the Direct Sales Executive (DSE) application installed on their mobile phone, ATMs and the bank’s over 55,000 FirstMonie Agents spread across the country. Opening an account with FirstBank through any of these means is seamless, convenient, fast, and user-friendly.

 

The DSE App is an end to end encrypted mobile application installed on the phone(s) of FirstBank staff which enables them to open an account for to-be customers. Upon the completion of the account opening process via the DSE App, the customer is notified of his or her account number through a text message on the mobile phone used to register the account.

 

With FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking, various banking activities are carried out on a mobile phone – across the four major GSM network operators in the country – without the use of the internet. To open an account via this means, dial *894# then select ‘open an account’ to provide the information required or by simply dialling *894*0#. The Bank currently has over 9.5 million of its nearly 20 million customers on its USSD banking platform.

 

The FirstMonie Agent Banking is an agent banking initiative from the bank that is designed to take banking closer to people, thereby bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked. FirstMonie is a channel through which various banking activities like FirstBank account opening, funds transfer, bill payments, data and call credit recharge services, amongst others are carried out. The Agent Banking initiative has also contributed to reducing poverty, being responsible for the indirect employment of over 150,000 people across the country.

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According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “beyond opening an account in any of our over 700 branches, we are delighted with the investments at reinventing our business processes over the years, especially with the use of technology. This has been critical to staying relevant in the industry for over 126 years and being the financial partner of the first choice to all our customers and Nigerians, irrespective of where they are.”

 

Creating these virtual ways of opening a bank account with us – thus; the staff DSE App, ATMs, FirstMonie Agents, *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile and our website – reinforces our resolve to ensure that more Nigerians and residents have access to banking, especially through our state of the art financial services and we remain resolute to being the key to banking, enabling business and financial activities that would continue to propel the country’s economic growth and development.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.

With over 750 business locations and 55,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

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The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9.5million people on its USSD banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking service and over 3.5 million people on Firstmobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

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