We Needed $200m Malaria Loan To Prevent 78,000 Deaths -Health Ministry

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

The Federal Ministry of Health has cleared the air on the controversial $200m loan rumoured to be for the purchase of mosquito nets.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire made the clarification on Monday, November 22, 2021 during the ministry’s bi-weekly press briefing in Abuja.

TheFact Nigeria recalled that the internet went agog last month when news of request for the purported mosquito net loan was presented before the National Assembly.

Ehanire stated that it was necessary to address the “erroneous assertions and publications that the Federal Ministry of Health presented a budget of N82 billion Naira for procurement of mosquito nets.” This, he said was “incorrect, misleading and not representative of the facts of the matter.”

He explained that the money (US$200million) was the component of a World Bank assisted multilateral borrowing plan offer to Nigeria, involving the African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank under project development and negotiation with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning since 2018.

The Health Boss further disclosed that the loan was to fulfill Nigeria’s counterpart funding obligation to complement the foreign grants to execute the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) for malaria control and elimination, a project developed by Roll-Back-Malaria (RBM) Partnership, set up in 1998 by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and World Bank, endorsed by African Heads of State in 2000.

He explicated that the Initiative was beyond buying mosquito nets alone but included testing, treatment and other measures that helped to reduce malaria prevalence to 23% in Nigeria.

Going further, the Minister disclosed the conditions Nigeria needed to meet for the donors to release their grants, he said:

“The main donations to this project are US$195million over 3 years by the United States Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) that will cover 11 States.

“Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, provides $403 million over 3 years to cover 13 States, leaving 13 states of Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Borno, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Ondo, Kogi, Imo, Lagos, Rivers and FCT, without funding.

“For full coverage and as condition to release their own grants, partners want Nigeria to be responsible for these States, to make it a 3-way project of the US Government, Global Fund and Government of Nigeria”, Ehanire explained.

The Health Boss posited that malaria was an endemic that is of major public health concern to Nigeria, who is currently burdened with the world’s highest disease and death rates.

He revealed that about 30 children were estimated to be lost daily to malaria in the country. Hitherto, it was to eradicate malaria, that Government was into agreement with Global Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership for nationwide interventions to achieve the vison of malaria-free Nigeria, as was with Polio.

Consequently, he added that experts had estimated that the Fund application will avert 78,000 deaths, prevent 14.5 million illnesses and reach 17.6 million women and children with malaria services in the 13 States.

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