Fire Engulfs Gombe Central Medical Store

… Destroys Millions of Vital Vaccines, Medical Supplies Worth Billions of Naira

…Governor Inuwa Yahaya Inspects Facility, Vows Immediate Measure To Address Catastrophic Situation

A fierce early morning inferno has gutted the Gombe Central Medical Store, a critical healthcare facility housing over 2 million doses of polio vaccine and various essential medical consumables and equipment.

According to a statement on Monday, 19th February 2024 signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Gombe Government House, Ismaila Uba Misilli, said that the destruction, valued at over 5 billion naira, poses a significant setback for Gombe, as it is scheduled to kick off the March-April 2024 Polio Myelitis Campaign.

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.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya appealed to donor agencies and health sector stakeholders to come to the aid of Gombe, emphasizing the facility’s role in supporting healthcare not only in the state but across the entire Northeastern subregion.

The Governor stated, “This facility was at some point the centre for drug 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.”

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 because of its historical role as a key distribution centre for medical supplies in the region.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Habu Dahiru, while conducting the Governor round, revealed that the inferno obliterated 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 Northeastern states.