The campaign to eradicate malaria in Nigeria has received a boost with the signing of two agreements on grants worth US$225 million between the country and Global Fund to support programmes on prevention and treatment of malaria in the country.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the campaign have applauded the grants, saying they would help Nigeria in its efforts towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, by 2015.
The agreements include an additional US$50 million for bed nets, approved in an unusual move by the Global Fund Board that was linked to additional commitments by the government of Nigeria.
Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund, Debrework Zewdie, who signed on behalf of the Fund in Abuja, said: “Nigeria is poised to become a global leader in the fight against malaria.”
Zewdie explained that the grant agreements expanded a partnership with the Global Fund that had yielded remarkable progress in recent years, such as undertaking the largest distribution of bed nets done anywhere— more than 45 million to date.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the government was determined to find ways to prevent malaria from further killing Nigerians. According to him, the Federal Government is taking steps to increase the impact of grants, including the recent ones, by committing additional funds from the country.
Chukwu noted that the development was a new phase and a new way of doing things in the country. He said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that we are on the right track.” Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said: “Malaria is a killer. It can be prevented by investing in public health.”