Nigeria not borrowing $200m for mosquito nets, says Global Fund

Global Fund has faulted recent reports that Nigeria, through its Ministry of Health, is seeking $200m loan for importation of mosquito nets into the country.

Officer in charge of Coordinating Mechanism for GF in Nigeria, Ibrahim Tajudeen, said the figure was quoted out of context.

He explained that the total counterpart fund requested by the Federal Ministry of Health in form of loans was $360m, including $200m from World Bank, $100m from African Development Bank and $60m from Islamic Development Bank for malaria intervention in 13 states neglected for long by the government.

Fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, during the quarterly advocacy meeting of the Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition, Tajudeen said the Nigerian government was expected to provide funds to place 100,000 persons on antiretroviral drugs, and provide Isoniazid for Tuberculosis programme.

According to him, the Minister of Finance signed on behalf of the Nigerian government, adding that the GF intervention cuts across areas of HIV, TB, malaria, resilient systems strengthening for health and the Coronavirus Disease.

Tajudeen argued that it was not too much for a donor of over $1.1bn to ask for counterpart fund from the benefitting government for malaria intervention in 13 ‘orphan’ states.

He maintained that the money was not meant for mosquito nets alone, but to enable government meet the requirements for accessing fully the $403m meant for malaria intervention.

Calling on the National Assembly to approve, without further delay, the loan request, he said, “There is need to increase the level of advocacy and education.”

The opposition by members of the National Assembly to the issue of loan for funding of counterpart obligation on malaria intervention programme stems from lack of information, which was as a result of gaps in communication and policy sensitisation, he asserted.

His words, “The calibre of people condemning some of the interventions, especially malaria, shows that there are gaps between policy operations and the general public. More importantly, the legislators need to be more acquainted with what we are doing, and we need to move closer to them.

“The second point is that from 2015 to date, there were some states categorised as orphan. If these states are orphan, then who takes care of them? It should be the Federal Government. So, the federal was asked to provide mosquito nets for pregnant women, under-five children and funds for sensitisation campaign.

“It was on that basis that government approached the WB, AfDB and IsDB for loan of $360m.”

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