The National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), which was set up under Section 35 of the National Lottery Act of 2005, is supposed to help the country reach its development goals by making it easier for good causes to get lottery money for projects that are transformational, sustainable, and have a long-term effect on people and communities.
Since it started working, the Fund has made progress in many areas of national development.
They include education, sports, the provision of potable water, and healthcare service delivery, among others.
But, unarguably, since Dr Bello Maigari became the Executive Secretary of the Fund in 2019, the Fund has deepened healthcare delivery across the six geo-political zones.
From 2019 to date, the Fund has, among other healthcare intervention programmes, provided: modern electric delivery beds to General Hospital, Gombe; an ultrasound machine with a monitor to General Hospital, Daura, Katsina State; and double hydraulic delivery beds to the Primary Health Centre, Onikan, Lagos State.
Laboratory autoclave machines were also donated to many health institutions across the country.
World-class medical equipment was also inaugurated by the Fund at the Primary Healthcare Clinic, New Karu, Nasarawa State.
Vital medical equipment was also donated to Kugba Maternity and General Hospital, Agbowu, Abeokuta, Nneto Maternity Home, Abia, General Hospital Umunze, Anambra, Eja Memorial/Joint Hospital, Itigidi, Abi, Cross River State, and Joint Hospital Amaigbo, among others.
There is no doubt that the Fund’s work has helped health institutions and communities in all six geopolitical zones.
Maigari, who spoke when he inaugurated medical equipment at Gbaja Randle Hospital, Mother and Child Care, and General Hospital, Surulere, Lagos State, noted that the Fund was saddled with the mandate to promote social inclusion and the health wellbeing of Nigerians.
He said that the Fund had, over the years, enhanced the capacity delivery of many health facilities across the country to enable them to cater for the health needs of patients, pregnant women, children, and the vulnerable.
Nevertheless, the Fund has significantly recorded imperative interventions in various aspects of nation-building.
“As I speak to you, Nigeria’s gaming market is the fastest growing in Africa, with sales revenue of approximately two trillion Naira annually. This indicates that lottery is a wealth generator,” the NLTF boss said.
He said that if Nigeria’s gaming market was used well, it could bring in a lot of money for national development and make more jobs, which would help President Muhammadu Buhari keep his promise to get 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The executive secretary also reiterated the commitment of the NLTF to live up to its mandate when some vital medical equipment was presented to the New Karu Primary Healthcare Centre in the Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Maigari said that the handing over of the 34 pieces of equipment was a significant milestone in the funding of lottery good causes projects in the country.
He listed the items as one digital X-ray, 10 kidney discs, five thermometers, 10 HIV kits, one colour ultrasound machine, and one genotype machine, among other medical equipment.
“The essence of the intervention is to provide vital medical equipment to under-served communities to save lives and reverse deteriorating health conditions by leveraging the use of hi-tech diagnostic equipment,” he said.
He also stressed that the intervention was to provide high standards of care to vulnerable segments of society in some states in the six geo-political zones.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who was represented by Mr Philip Dada, Commissioner for Works and Transportation, expressed delight over the gesture by the NLTF, stressing that it would reduce the already overstretched facilities at the clinic.
Maigari, who recently presented vital medical equipment to 12 primary healthcare centres selected from the six geopolitical zones, said the equipment would provide more access to health delivery.
Some of the things were digital X-ray machines, colour ultrasound machines, suction machines, kidney discs, hydraulic beds, wheelchairs, blood banks, and so on.
“Our hope is to see projects of this nature in every constituency in the country seeking to save and change lives for the good of all Nigerians,” he stated.
“The goal is to ensure everyday Nigerians living in rural communities have access to modern laboratory and radiology services as a critical first step in receiving decent and quality care.
It is alarming that people travel long distances from remote communities to urban areas just to obtain basic laboratory services such as x-rays, blood tests, etc., which often result in patients dying even before receiving proper medical attention.
For us, in the Trust Fund, this is a major concern which needs to be addressed urgently, more so if we are to change the current narrative that our hospitals are not just mere consulting clinics.
“Hence this vital and constructive effort by the Fund to equip healthcare institutions with basic radiology facilities across the nation,” Maigari said.
Maigari said that the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) was set up by Section 35 of the National Lottery Act of 2005 to take care of a certain amount of money from all national lottery operations in the country so that it could be invested to help the country’s health.
The promotion of good causes is a social service to the nation which can cater to the sick, the unemployed and uneducated, the talented but undiscovered young sportsmen, the victims of natural and ecological disasters, the refugees and the homeless.
“It is, therefore, an agency that can assist the government to promote social stability, poverty eradication, social cohesion, and economic wellbeing,” he added.
When vital medical equipment was presented by NLTF to two healthcare centres in Edo in September 2020, Maigari said that the equipment would complement the efforts of the state government to make a difference in saving lives.
The health institutions were Usen General Hospital, in the Ovia South-West Local Government Area, and Ogbesse Maternity Home, in the Ovia North-East Local Government Area.
Bello listed the equipment to include phototherapy machines, delivery beds, blood banks, haematocrit centrifuges, defibrillators, and infant incubators.
Other equipment included baby cots, hospital beds and mattresses, Olympus, bucket cent, sonicaid, cardiotocography, suction machine, autoclave among others.
Bello, who said the intervention was imperative as Nigeria was dealing with the devastating effects of COVID-19, noted that the agency was committed to ensuring better healthcare delivery across the country.
“The target is to cover the entire 774 local government areas across the nation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
“I am here to re-affirm that our intervention will continue to be pursued in a broad, distinctive, integrative, and inclusive manner across the country, whilst also ensuring that good causes offer long-term value to society and give good value for lottery money.”
“Let me reassure you that NLTF has put in place a robust and comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to help the agency track the progress of its intervention programmes and, in particular, the utilisation of these facilities in this hospital,” he said.
He, however, solicited support from stakeholders in the health sector in raising awareness of the value of lottery funding to modern life and its transformational legacy to the nation.
Earlier, Edwin Ajah, Zonal Coordinator, National Lottery Trust Fund, South-South Zone, stated that the intervention would assist those who cannot afford the exorbitant fees charged by private hospitals in accessing vital services.
He noted that the agency is poised to change the lives of Nigerian citizens.
Solomon Aiguobasimwin, the Medical Director of Usen General Hospital, thanked the organization for the donation on behalf of the people who would get it. He also said that the items would help a lot with health care.
Undoubtedly, the grassroots intervention by NLTF is impactful and, if sustained, would deepen healthcare delivery across the country.