Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria Receives U.S.$335 Million Grant to Fight Aids, TB

The Global Fund, a UN agency, has released 335 million dollars about N53.6 billion, to fight HIV and AIDS and the scourge of tuberculosis in the next three years in Nigeria.

Dr Fatai Bello, Executive Secretary, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) in Nigeria, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Adiabo, Cross River.

Bello was in the state for the five-day Global Fund Retreat, organised by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).

He said the fund was meant to checkmate new and existing HIV and AIDS as well as TB infections.

The executive secretary said that out of the amount, 266 million dollars (N42.6 billion) would be used for the control of HIV/AIDS.

He also said that tuberculosis treatment would take 69 million dollars (N11 billion).

Bello said that 200 million dollars (N32 billion) was released in the first phase of the programme, adding that the first phase lasted for two years during which some noticeable challenges were addressed.

"During the first phase, we had a lot of challenges, some in terms of storage facilities and transportation. But we have worked very hard to overcome them," he said.

He said the grant which was formally signed last Thursday at a ceremony attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, in Abuja, would cater for the second phase.

Bello said that the fund was for key recipients like NACA, Society for Family Health, Association for Reproductive and Family Health and Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria.

NAN reports that the retreat was organised for management staff, stakeholders and sub-recipients of the fund at the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, Adiabo.

The Director-General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko, said that Nigeria was one of the few countries that experienced a drop in new cases of HIV in the last two years globally.

Idoko, represented by the Director of Policy and Strategy, Dr Alex Ogundipe, said: "I think we are achieving a lot of mileage.

"Nigeria is one of the few countries that are experiencing a drop in terms of new cases.

"There are about three million people living with HIV in Nigeria. It means these people must be treated to prolong their lives. This is second to South Africa.

"We treated 172, 000 in the last two years and by 2015 we would have treated 223, 000 and this takes a lot of resources.

"The programme signed last Thursday is worth N85 billion and it will enable us to achieve the target," he said.

Dr Kwame Ampumah, Country Coordinator, UN Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), said the organisation would ensure that the funds were channelled to the areas they were meant for.

He said that the funds would be well utilised in Nigeria going by the feat recorded in the first phase.

Ampumah, also member of CCM Executive Committee, said the Global Fund had committed million of dollars as intervention fund in various health programmes in Nigeria.

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