The United Nations (UN) mission in Nigeria through its Basket Fund has made available over $2 million for the procurement of essential medical supplies to support Nigeria in containing COVID-19.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the COVID 19 Basket Fund, would also be used to provide medical treatment to persons that have tested positive for the virus.
He said the Fund would be used for the rapid procurement of equipment and consumables as well as in supporting socio-economic interventions, such as cash transfers or food distribution to vulnerable groups.
The Fund would also assist in scaling up surveillance, testing, isolation, contact tracing, provision of personal protection equipment for medical staff, disinfectants for medical facilities, risk communication, community engagement and clinical management of the critically ill.
“We have the will, the people, the tools and now we have the financing structure,” he said.
Mustapha expressed Nigeria’s appreciation to the UN in rallying partners to mobilize funds to support the nation’s efforts to fight the pandemic and the operationalization of the One COVID19 Basket fund.
He also expressed the government’s appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for commending Nigeria’s response to the pandemic and assured that it would spur the country to work harder.
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, described the intervention as a great relief and expressed the happiness that the first $2 million promised for commodities on March 23, when the national COVID 19 leadership of Nigeria met with the UN leadership and key bilateral donors to discuss the unfolding emergency, will start rolling in on Tuesday, April 7.
He said working together, all parties have the best chance of defeating the pandemic.
Ehanire commended the global fund for the latitude granted Nigeria to reprogram some of its funding requests in other to be able to address COVID-19.
European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlen, noted that as individuals, “we do need to keep distances, but as a community, we need to come together.
“At this time of need, Nigeria is not alone, the European Union is committed to supporting the government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges of the pandemic.
“The COVID19 Basket Fund avails us with the opportunity to cooperate and act rapidly in the deployment of assistance that can help enhance the healthcare services and cushion the most vulnerable.”
The UN Resident Coordinator and Representative of the Secretary-General in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, applauded the Nigerian government for the efforts and measures to urgently mobilize resources to address the impact of COVID-19.
“Government cannot do it alone. For the country to succeed in fighting back the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, we must all come together across all sectors to support the government at this time of great need,” Kallon said.