The Embassy of Israel in Nigeria has donated 6,000 protective face shields to support medical personnel in Nigeria in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, while delivering the shields to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdulhaziz Mashi, said the gesture was to fulfil the 10,000 face masks promised.
Ben-Shoshan, also Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, said that the promise was to donate 10,000 face-masks to the Ministry of Health of Nigeria.
According to him, the items are for medical staff at the front-line of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore the final batch of 6,000 masks delivered to the Ministry of Health.
Ben-Shoshan said, “I am here today as I promise about a month ago that I am going to fulfil my goal of 10 000 face masks and this is the set time that we are coming.
“This time we are coming with 6000 face shield masks, so together with the previous 4000, we have fulfilled what I promised with Skill “G” and Mashav Aid from Israel.
“I am very happy to present this mask, even though it is a drop in the ocean, it is more than a drop in the ocean.
“I think 10,000 face masks is quite a good amount, it is our share and there is a lot of equipment that the medical staff here need for the frontline fighting of COVID-19.”
He expressed appreciation to the Nigerian doctors and nurses, for their contributions to the fight against COVID-19.
He said although Israel was the first country to lockdown due to COVID-19 and was the first to reopen its economy, coronavirus has become unpredictable, hoping that the vaccine would soon be discovered.
He disclosed plans by the Embassy to organise the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR), an initiative to promote self-reliance among Nigerians from 21 years and above.
“We came up with i-FAIR, which is an innovation we started two weeks ago, as a joint project with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo under this umbrella, together with the team from Israel.
“We did it last year in the form of a short seminar for three days as innovation, but this year we are opening it in at least five various fields and even more.
“We are welcoming every Nigerian citizen from the 21 years of age, who possess a first degree form tertiary institution and are creative to apply on the website www.ifair-israelnigeria.com” he added.
He said that the programme would be attended by prominent Israeli hi-tech leaders globally, inventors and investors, including Doy Moran, an Israeli entrepreneur, best known as inventor of the USB memory stick.
Furthermore, registration for the programme started on Sept. 24 and would end Oct. 31.
The best 100 participants would selected by experts from Israel and Nigeria.in various sectors of the economy.
Receiving the items, the Permanent Secretary, expressed appreciation to the Israel Embassy for the donation to health workers in Nigeria, while appreciating the Chief Executive Officer of Skill “G”.
“It is significant to appreciate you seeing that this is made locally with Nigeria engineers and materials, we cannot but thank you more than enough.
“Even though COVID-19 is still with us, these protective shields you have given to the ministry will go a long way in the response and even post COVID-19.
“We will continue to appreciate the spirit behind this donation by the embassy and its partners, I am also very fascinated about this i-FAIR I am hearing now,” Mashi said.
He commended the i-FAIR to be in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy initiative to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Meanwhile, Dr Geoffrey Okatubo, Director of Research and Knowledge in the ministry, said that the i-FAIR initiative would boost agriculture and food security in Nigeria.
“The i-FAIR is something that is very necessary for us, I can see agriculture and food security is mentioned, and Nigeria is working towards agricultural self-sufficiency.
“So, it will push out our people towards self-sufficiency, secondly the Medical Devices/ Simulation is something that we are going to be very keen about.
“We are going to disseminate this information to people we are concerned about and I assure that several people are going to apply through this website,” Okatubo said.
He, however, stressed the need for collaboration between Israel and Nigeria researchers to boost the nation’s innovative capacity.