Global Fund Commits $1.1bn to Fight Malaria

Kingsley Nwezeh & Eugenia Aguiyi | 21 Oct 2009
This Day
As efforts continue to improve the health of the nation, Nigeria and the Global Fund for Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS have signed a $669 million Round 8 grant for the fight against those sicknesses, bringing the total of its commitment to the country since 2002 to $1.1 billion.

The latest amount is also made available for Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) over the next five years.

During the grant signing ceremony in Abuja yesterday, Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, disclosed that the organisation had spent $15.6 billion in 140 countries worldwide especially in Africa to support large scale prevention treatment and care programmes against these diseases.

According to him, since the inception of the fund in Nigeria in 2002, the country had received $1.1billion to fight the diseases in Rounds 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8.

Minister of Health, Babatunde Osotimehin, on his part, commended the organisation for "the landmark event". He said Nigeria deserved the grant.

"Nigeria's contribution to the fund ($10million) is higher than other developing countries. I am not saying that it is an investment but it is a good return on investment," he said.
He called for the ministry's collaboration with the recipient agencies in the implementation of the grant.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Nigeria, Dr. John Jinung, noted that since the launch of the Global Fund, CCM-Nigeria had coordinated and presented country proposals to the fund and through the process successfully accessed a total of about $494,171,787 (N56.8 billion).

He stated that "It is gratifying to note that although previous grants have been signed unpublicised and largely 'behind the curtain', our current grants that engendered today's gathering are to be signed in the glare of the camera in tune with the principle of transparency and accountability.

"Today, we are privileged to witness the signing of grants amounting to about $669,393,693(N93, 715,117,020 billion) for malaria, health system strengthening and tuberculosis. We are also presently awaiting the outcome of our Round 9 country coordinated proposals already submitted to the Global Fund to attract additional funds that would enable us strengthen the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis."

Regional Head of the Fund, Mr. Fareed Abdalla, also reminded the country that "the real work was in the implementation. Implementing such a big programme would be pain for everybody in the next five years. We expect challenges but the most overriding decision is that we can do it together".

Abdallah challenged Nigeria to live up to expectations. "If Nigeria fails in this endeavour, history will judge us harshly," he added.

Implementers of the programme include Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Yakubu Gowon Centre (YGC), National Diseases Programmes of the Ministry of Health, Society for Family Health and Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN) among others.

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