The Federal Ministry of Health Thursday performed the “ground breaking” for the construction of a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical grade warehouse to be built in Lagos by the US government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM).
The warehouse, which will be constructed using an innovative technology referred to as “Warehouse-in-Box” is expected to double the storage capacity of existing warehouses in the country and will make it easier for the minstry to buy, store, track and distribute medications to health care centres across Nigeria.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony earlier on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary of Health, Mr. Linus Awute described the project as a major milestone in the nation’s healhcare delivery efforts.
He told guests at the ceremony that the Lagos store, converted to central medical stores in 1945 after the second world war, serves as the only central storage hub for health products procured by the health ministry, local and international agencies and non governmental organisations working in partnership with the ministry.
“For some time now, there has been a lot of pressure on this facility as most of the stores lack the capacity and equipment to accommodate the volume of medicines and other health commodities expected to be stored in the facility.
“Therefore, FMOH in collaboration with some Agencies and partners, namely United States government through USAID, the Global Fund and UNFPA decided to address these challenges by executing the project which was divided into two phases. The first phase was the renovation and upgrading of four cluster warehouses here at the Federal Medical Stores, Oshodi, Lagos. The project was completed and delivered in 2013.
“The second phase is the complete construction, from the scratch of six standard Pharmaceutical grade warehouses, three each here in Lagos and the Premier Medical Stores, Abuja.”
The Permanent Secretary thanked the United States government and other partner agencies “who have always stood by us, giving us technical advice and ensuring provision of necessary medicines and equipment for improving the health of our people. We are grateful. ”
In his remark, the USAID Mission Director, Mr. Michael Harvey said the $5 million “Warehouse-in-a-box” is a pre-fabricated building with smooth dust-free floors, temperature regulating systems, thermal insulated ceilings and appropriate warehouse handling equipment such as shelving, electric reach stachers and hand pallet movers.
He described the warehouse as world class which would serve as an anchor for pharmaceutical and medical products coming from the wharf. According to him, the wharehouse would help reduce the cost and time of transporting life saving medications and equipment to all parts of the country.