Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Nation Receives U.S.$225 Million Grant for HIV, TB, Malaria

The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu in Abuja, on behalf of the federal government received $225 million from the Global Fund to fight the three pandemic diseases: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Global Fund is an international financing institution dedicated to attracting and disbursing resources to tackle thesediseases.

Shortly before the signing of the grants documents, the Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr Debrework Zewdie said, "This is a reflection of the tremendous progress you [Nigeria] have made and our commitment to work together towards reducing child mortality and reaching the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals].

"We have proved sceptics wrong. They say Nigeria is too complex to achieve any meaningful progress in fighting malaria. But collaborative efforts have started to pay off and we should be very proud.

"The special thing about these grants we are signing today is that the Global Fund board, to my knowledge, for the first time approved the full funding amount available which allows us to include an additional $50 million for bed nets, upon further funding commitments by the government of Nigeria."

The health minister said, data from the country's 2010 malaria indicator survey show that Nigeria is working hard on the new initiatives on controlling and eliminating malaria.

He stated, "This money coming in is going to contribute significantly to the total funding of malaria elimination programme in Nigeria.

"The proposal as approved by the Global Fund...should be implemented with all due diligence.

"Nigerians should look forward to significantly reducing the burden of malaria before 2015."

Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede who is Chief Executive Officer Access Bank and chairman, Friends of the Global Fund Africa described the grant as opportunity for Nigeria to show leadership and commitment in the fight against malaria by committing more resources to save lives.

Alhaji Aliko Dangode, chairman of Dangote Group who was represented by Isa Yusuf pledged continuous support.

Minister of State Health, Alhaji Ali Pate was present along with representatives from ministries of finance, defence, and the World Bank among others.

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