FG Seeks WHO Support to Curb Corruption in Health Sector

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Paul Obi in Abuja

The federal government on Monday sought the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in curbing corruption in Nigeria’s health sector following several indictments by foreign donors of diversion of funds particularly in the Federal Ministry of Health.

Consequently, the ministry has initiated plans to set up Efficiency Management Unit (EMU) to oversee the proper utilization of funds in the ministry.

This is in an effort to curb in the ministry.

In recent times, the health ministry and some of its agencies and departments have been fingered by the Global Fund to have been involved in alleged diversion of funds meant for the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria.

The magnitude of the alleged corruption and the threat by the Global Fund to withdraw its funding and support to Nigeria compelled President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the alleged stealing of Global Fund grants which Nigeria received between 2010 and 2014.

According to the Global Fund, in late 2014, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation into the expenditures of the Nigerian Government’s Department of Health Planning, Research & Statistics (DPRS), a sub-recipient of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the principal recipient of HIV/AIDS grants.

Though,ministry and NACA officials have been questioned by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, the outcome of the investigations is yet to be tendered to President Buhari.

According to the report: “The OIG investigation confirmed the Local Fund Agent’s initial findings and found extensive evidence of systematic embezzlement of program funds, fraudulent practices and collusion by DPRS staff and consultants assigned to the Global Fund-financed program. The OIG found some form of irregularity or fraud in most vouchers reviewed (from 2010 to 2014). Seven of the ten staff and three consultants assigned to the program were involved or linked to the misappropriation of funds.”

But in an epoch meeting with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who is in Nigeria for a three day official visit, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole requested for the support of the world health body in order to tame the monster of corruption within the ministry and the overall health sector.

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