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Fire consumes Gombe medical store, destroys polio vaccines

By Grace Samuel

Gombe State is facing a health emergency as a massive fire engulfed the Gombe Central Medical Store, a vital healthcare facility that stored over two million doses of polio vaccine and various medical supplies and equipment.

The blaze, which broke out in the wee hours of the morning, has wiped out the facility’s inventory, which was worth more than N5 billion. The facility was gearing up for the March-April 2024 polio vaccination campaign, which is now in jeopardy.

The governor of Gombe, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, visited the site of the fire to inspect the damage and express his solidarity with the staff and officials of the facility.

He lamented the loss of the precious vaccines and equipment, which he said were crucial for the health and well-being of the people of Gombe and the Northeastern subregion.

He solicited the support and assistance of the donor agencies and health sector partners to help Gombe recover and rebuild from the disaster, highlighting the facility’s importance as a regional hub for healthcare delivery.

He said the facility was not only catering to the needs of Gombe State, but also supplying drugs and medical supplies to the entire northeast region, as it was the main depot for distribution.

He requested the Federal government, as well as organizations like WHO and UNICEF, to intervene and provide urgent and adequate help to Gombe to restore and enhance its healthcare system.

He urged all stakeholders to work together and cooperate to improve the healthcare services in the state.

He instructed the commissioner for works and transport to swiftly deploy his technical team and give him realistic suggestions on how to revive the facility, emphasizing its significance as a key hub for medical supplies in the region.

The commissioner for health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, who accompanied the governor on his tour, said the fire consumed vaccines worth more than five billion naira, including 2 million doses donated by UNICEF and Rotary International for distribution to the local government areas in the state.

He said the fire also destroyed various items such as polio vaccine, routine immunization supplies, cold storage facilities, equipment for COVID-19 vaccine storage, maternal and child health equipment, nutrition supplies, family planning items, and specialized equipment for healthcare centers and maternity wards.

He added that refrigerators, cylinders, air conditioners, and motorcycles were also lost in the inferno.

 

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