Nigeria: Malaria – Country, World Bank Sign $100 Million Pact

Abuja — Nigeria and the World Bank yesterday signed a $100m agreement in what is seen as a major push to eradicate malaria in the country. The fund is an additional financing for the malaria control booster project.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, which took place at the Ministry of Finance, Abuja, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Onno Ruhl, said Nigeria’s efforts towards the eradication of malaria in the country was on course.

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He commended the exemplary leadership provided for the fight against malaria by the Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin. He said the World Bank was confident that with the exemplary antecedents of the minister in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Nigeria would triumph in the fight against the disease.

He said this was already manifest given the concerted efforts and integrated approach adopted, especially the involvement of the faith community in the malaria control efforts.

He noted that US President, Barack Obama , while in Ghana commended the initiative adopted in the fight against malaria where the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities were being partnered by government.

In his remarks, the Health Minister, Professor Osotimehin, assured that mosquito nets would soon be distributed in the country in large quantities.

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“When we started the AIDS treatment in Nigeria, there were cases of people stealing the drugs to sell on the open market, but when we flooded the country with the drugs and we were administering it for free to HIV/AIDS patients, the black market for it was completely wiped out.

“In the same manner, we are distributing 60 million nets in the country free of charge and this will be coming along with free treatment for children and other measures with which the integrated war on malaria will be fought”, he said.

According to him, “we are using all we can in this. This will be exciting times in malaria research in Nigeria as the we are becoming the cynosure of all eyes. Thus, we will take advantage of this and showcase the skills and ability of Nigerrians to do things right. There is no doubt that this will come with a lot of challenges, but we will overcome them”.

Osotimehin assured the World Bank that “we would show results and ensure that there is transparency and acountability in our way of doing business.

He said we will show results and garner trust and faith in our system so that we can get more fuinding because with what we have on offer so far, we still need more funding to fully implement our plans to kick malaria ourt of Nigeria”.

Mr Ruuhl Signed on behlaf of the World Bank while the Finance Minister, Sarki Muhtar, signed on behalf of the Federal Government.

Also present at the event were the Solicitor General of the Federation who represented the Minister of Justice. The ceremony also witnesed the presence of health commissioners fron the 36 states who are expected to be key players in the malaria control efforts.

Kaynak: allAfrica.com

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