World Bank approves $180 million to help Nigeria's fight against malaria

| 12 Dec 2006
Relief Web
Washington, DC, December 12, 2006 - The World Bank today approved its largest-ever malaria control project with a US$ 180 million interest-free credit for Nigeria a country which suffers some of the most severe human and economic costs from malaria worldwide. The new project will support Nigeria's National Malaria Control Program in its efforts to halve the country's malaria deaths by 2010. Nigeria is the eleventh African country so far to receive help from the World Bank's Malaria Control Booster Program, set up just 15 months ago, to help African countries reduce the deaths, illness, and economic losses caused by malaria on the continent each year.

"Today's approval of this anti-malaria project effectively doubles the size of our Malaria Booster Program which is ambitious, but essential," said Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank Group. "Perhaps even more important than the size of the commitment is the coordination of all anti-malaria efforts and the tracking of results in the field that sets this program apart. We must all work to coordinate our efforts and measure results so that we can rid this plague which is killing a million people a year worldwide, most of them children."

The Bank's project will assist the Nigerian National Malaria Control Program to carry out a massive scaling up of proven interventions against malaria such as ensuring that people who are vulnerable to the mosquito-borne disease sleep under insecticide treated bed nets, together with more effective prevention, diagnosis and case management. It will focus on increasing malaria protection for vulnerable groups, such as children and pregnant women.

An important feature of the Bank's project is that it will help the National Program mobilize the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and community-based organizations, to expand access to sustainable malaria services for local communities.

"Malaria is the single leading cause of illness and death in Nigeria; it is both a cause and a consequence of poverty", said Eyitayo Lambo, Nigeria's Minister of Health and Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board. "This scourge which is destroying the future generations of Nigeria can be defeated by the collective efforts of Nigerians and their development partners. I am happy that through this project, the World Bank has swiftly responded to government's call for assistance on behalf of the Nigerian people", he added.

The World Bank's Malaria Control Booster Program helps African countries in their efforts to control and reduce deaths from malaria and also supports strengthening of the broader health system. The Booster Program puts emphasis on measurable results, while enabling pursuit of flexible approaches and partnerships with civil society organizations and other groups.

"Since the launch of the Booster Program about 15 months ago, the Bank's Board of Directors has approved 11 projects supporting malaria control in Africa for a total of over US$350 million, a clear sign of our renewed commitment to support African countries in their fight against this disease", said Yaw Ansu, Director of Human Development in the Africa Region of the World Bank.

The Booster program builds upon efforts and programs of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership which in Nigeria includes the World Bank, DFID, USAID, UNICEF, WHO, PSI, Exxon Mobil, and Harvest Field Ltd.

In addition to providing strategic and technical support to the Government to implement its program, the Bank's financial assistance will complement programs and projects from other donors, notably DFID and the Global Fund, and rely on strong continued technical guidance from the WHO.

"The Nigeria Malaria Control Booster Project represents an important step in the already close collaboration between the World Bank and Global Fund in the fight against malaria," said Mabingue Ngom, West and Central Africa Cluster Leader for the Global Fund. "It also demonstrates the ability of development agencies to mobilize their respective strengths to support the efforts of African countries to reduce deaths and suffering from malaria."

This credit, from the International Development Association (IDA), carries a 0.75% service fee, a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 35 years.