The Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire has announced that the federal government received $890 million grant from the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and malaria.
He said the Global Fund has also approved a grant of US$21.9 million to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, following a proposal Nigeria’s Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM) submitted a few weeks ago.
The CCM is the official national establishment, through which the Global Fund relates with fund recipient countries.
The minister said the COVID-19 grant would be specifically used to procure test kits to support COVID-19 testing with the GeneXpert machine and other molecular laboratory equipment.
“Overall, the Global Fund grants for COVID-19 will support testing for about one million Nigerians over the next 12 months,” he said.
Dr Ehanire who made the disclosure while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said the implementation period of the $890 million grant for HIV, TB and malaria would run from 2021 to 2023.
He said the grant would target the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged persons, and those at higher risk of the target diseases in other to promote equity in access to health care services.
Dr Ehanire said the $890 million grant was the largest made by Global Fund to any country in this funding cycle.
He said: “With this amount, Nigeria’s grant is reportedly the single highest allocation to any country and a demonstration of The Global Fund’s confidence in the administration and programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari, and in his pledge to make the most judicious use of the resources for the improvement of health outcomes for Nigerians, especially the poor and vulnerable.”
He said Nigeria ranked among the largest recipients of Global Fund investments in the world, adding that since inception in 2002, the Global Fund has committed the sum of $2,585,537,824 to operations in Nigeria, which are split into four program areas HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and Resilient Systems Strengthening for Health, (RSSH).
He said Global Fund support since inception has contributed to placing 1.04 million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) on treatment in Nigeria, led to identification and treatment of 120,000 TB cases annually, and contributed to decline in malaria prevalence from 42% to 23% from 2010 – 2018, among others.
Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Dr Gambo Aliyu said Nigeria needed more energy and resources as well as everyone’s contribution to control HIV in the country.
UNAIDS Nigeria Country Director, Erasmus Morah, urged the federal government to ensure transparency in the utilization of the Global Fund grants, and in a way that it benefits the people.
National Coordinator of the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim urged Global Fund to allow the Nigerian government to lead the implementation of the grants using indigenous strategy rather than an implementation dictated from Geneva.