- The federal government has collaborated with UN agencies to support the capacity of MSMEs to produce healthcare-related products
- The initiative is the brainchild of UN Women and the International Labour Organization Office Abuja funded by the UN Basket fund
- Other partners in the project are the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the World Health Organisation
FCT, Abuja - To effectively tackle COVID-19 in the country, Nigerian women who operate small businesses are now being trained on how to produce healthcare-related products.
The project which is funded by the UN Basket fund is one of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and will be held till the end of March 2022 in different locations (Abuja, Lagos, and Enugu).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the four-week capacity building workshop on Monday, February 28 in Abuja, Patience Ekeoba, the national programme officer UN Women Nigeria, noted that the COVID-19 crisis-affected investment, growth, and employment in Nigeria.
She further stated that the pandemic also had a negative impact on the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
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According to her, the Nigerian government and the United States system designed the project with the aim of strengthening the capacity of local MSMEs and manufacturers to produce high-quality Personal protective equipment (PPEs) and healthcare-related products.
“This activity tends to address identified knowledge gaps related to starting and growing a business operation in a proper way starting with production and distribution of quality products as well as branding and packaging.
“On this project also, UN Women would be taking up policy issues associated with the distribution of products produced by women and young women entrepreneurs and amplify the gender-responsive procurement principles to ensure both government agencies, development partners, and private sectors prioritise PPEs produced by women as quality products.”
On his part, Dino Corell, employment & migration officer for the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office Abuja, said:
“The ILO component of the project has a particular focus on capacity building in the areas of occupational safety and health, business development, financial services.
“In view of this, ILO and UN Women are organizing capacity building on business development using the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) programme for identified MSMEs producing PPEs in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
“The SIYB Trainings-of-Entrepreneurs focuses on starting and improving small businesses as a strategy for creating more and better employment for women and men.”
In a goodwill message to the organisers and participants, the minister of labour and employment, Senator Chris Ngige said the federal government is pleased to identify with the initiative due to the potentials it holds for multiple job creation, especially for women and youths.
Ngige who was represented by Dr Martina Nwordu, director of special duties and projects in the ministry noted that:
“Building the home manufacturing and supplies chains for such critical health products is part of the good lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
There were also goodwill messages from UNIDO, WHO, and the ministry of women affairs, and a physically-challenged participant from Borno, Adama Bala.
Imo govt flags-off COVID-19 community mass vaccination campaign in Owerri
Meanwhile, the Imo government has flagged off the Covid-19 community mass vaccination campaign in the state.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Governor Hope Uzodimma said the capacity of his administration was first tested by the virus but his administration was not found wanting as it tackled it head-on.
He commended Caritas, the Inter-Faith Association, for agreeing to partner with his government in working with the National Healthcare Development Agency, UNICEF, WHO, the United States Embassy, and other voluntary organisations to ensure that vaccination in the state is a success.