The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Monday, stated that the controversial $200 million loan, is not just for the purchase of mosquito nets, as widely speculated on the social media, .
He however, stated that the funds are for the 13 vulnerable States in the country, which were covered by the United States Presidential Initiative on malaria’s donation of $295 million, to cover 11 States, and the Global Health Fund for tuberculosis and malaria’s donation of about $4 million, for 13 States.
He noted that the donations left 13 States without bilateral support.
The Minister disclosed this during a Media briefing on the Covid-19 response, in Abuja.
His words: “The United States Presidential Initiative on malaria donated $295 million to cover 11 States, and the global health fund for tuberculosis and malaria also donated about $4 million for 13 States. This leaves 13 States without bilateral support.
“As a condition for our partners to release their own grants, the partners want Nigeria to be responsible for 13 States namely: Abia, Anambra, Borno, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo, Kogi, Imo, Lagos, Rivers, and the Federal Capital Territory. The fund is not just to purchase mosquito nets as widely purported, but to purchase test kits, among others.
“Malaria is endemic to Nigeria, and therefore, people are so used to it and trivialise this disease in Africa. We are the country with the highest burden of malaria. Malaria counts for about 60 percent of out patient hospital visits.
“The purpose of this briefing is to correct wrong information arising from not knowing the circumstances around the facility. The Federal Ministry of Health will gladly provide details. The public is enjoined to note the following: It is part of a borrowing plan, stated under the multilateral source of funds to meet Nigeria’s financial obligations.
“The money is about a quarter (25%) of what our foreign partners provided for the Global Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership Plan of Work. Paying this money is a condition for Nigeria to get foreign support.
“The facility is domiciled with, and expended from the Ministry of Finance, it is not at the Ministry of Health.
“Expenditure follows strict World Bank rules and guidelines, and is monitored by the Ministry of Finance, and as well as by the World Bank. The facility is for 13 States over a 5 year period, with about 25% going to nets and 75% to testing, treatment, and other malaria control measures. Any unspent funds out of the facility returns immediately to Federal Government account.”