Gombe Central Medical Store Destroyed by Inferno

Fire has destroyed the Gombe Central Medical Store, a critical healthcare facility housing over 2 million doses of polio vaccine and various essential medical consumables and equipment.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya promptly inspected the charred remains of the State Mega Medical Cold Store facility, where he stressed the urgent need to address the catastrophic situation.

He also appealed to donor agencies and stakeholders in the health sector to come to the aid of Gombe, emphasizing the facility’s role in supporting healthcare not only in the state but across the entire North-eastern subregion.

“This facility was at some point the centre for drugs distribution to the entire northeast region, not only Gombe state. Prompt intervention by the Federal government, development partners such as WHO, UNICEF and other critical stakeholders will make a significant impact in strengthening our healthcare system,” said Governor Yahaya.

He directed the Commissioner for Works and Transport to swiftly move his technical team and provide immediate recommendations, stressing the urgency of revitalizing the facility given its historical role as a key distribution centre for medical supplies in the region.

The destruction, valued at over 5 billion naira, poses a significant setback for Gombe, as it had scheduled to kick off the March-April 2024 Polio poliomyelitis Campaign.

While conducting the Governor round the burnt facility, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, revealed that the inferno destroyed vaccines valued at over five billion naira, including 2 million doses recently received from UNICEF and Rotary International for distribution across the state’s local government areas.

The extensive damage also included polio vaccine, routine immunization supplies, cold rooms, ultra-cold chain equipment for Pfizer Covid vaccine, maternal and child health equipment, nutritional items, family planning commodities, and special equipment for primary healthcare centres and maternity.

Refrigerators, cylinders, air conditioners, and motorcycles also were among the numerous items consumed by the fire.

The over 60-year-old cold store, previously used to house COVID-19 vaccines in 2020, played a significant role as a holding place for vaccines destined for onward distribution to other North-eastern states.