The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has offered clarification on the report of the $200 million fund for purchase of malaria nets, stating that the actual purpose of the funds is for the malaria eradication programme in 13 states.
Ehanire made the clarification during a media briefing on the COVID-19 response in Abuja.
The minister noted that it was pertinent to clarify the rumours in order to address the ongoing rumours concerning the fund.
The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, on Tuesday, opposed the proposal by the Federal Ministry of Health to access a $200 million loan under the Malaria Programme to procure mosquito nets in the 2022 budget.
The committee faulted the response of the Ministry of Health’s presentation about its intention to borrow the amount for the purchase of mosquito nets for 13 vulnerable states.
Ehanire stated further that the United States of America and the global health fund had made committed to offer support for the eradication of malaria in some states while adding that the fund was not only for the procurement of mosquito nets but the eradication of malaria in the 13 states.
He said, “The United States Presidential Initiative on malaria donated $295 million to cover eleven states and the global health fund for tuberculosis and malaria, also donated about four million dollars for 13 states. This leaves thirteen states without bilateral support.
“As a condition for our partners to release their own grants, the partners want Nigeria to be responsible for thirteen 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 trivialize this disease in Africa. We are the country with the highest burden of malaria. Malaria counts for about 60 per cent 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.”