In an effort to step up the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, the federal government has signed an agreement worth N2.6 trillion ($ 71 billion) in funding support with Global Fund.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Director, Media and Public Relations, Ministry of Health, Boade Akinola, the government said the funds would particularly help the country control the tuberclosis epidemic for the period of 2019 to 2020.
Global Fund is an international financing organisation which fights AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria by attracting, leveraging and investing resources to countries to end the epidemics.
Before the latest signing, the international financing organisation had been working in Nigeria since 2005 in these three areas.
Speaking at the signing, the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said tuberclosis now ranks as the ninth leading cause of death and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS, according to WHO Global TB Report 2018.
“Hence, it makes it a threat to any country like ours with high burden of the disease. This trend must not be allowed to continue,” he added.
He said many children in the country have become orphans due to the scourge.
He said over the years, the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) through the support of several partners like WHO, Global Fund has made giant strides in the control of TB in the area of policy development, capacity building, expansion of services and provision of quality care while addressing the need of vulnerable groups and key populations.
He also said: “Global Fund has committed $ 246 billion to tuberculosis control response in Nigeria since the inception of GF support to TB in 2005’’.
Ehanire pointed out that ‘’through this investment and in collaboration with other partners, the country has treated over one mollion Nigerians with Drug Resistant TB on quality treatment till date’’.
The minister pledged the commitment of the government towards ensuring adequate budgetary allocation and release to the TB programme in line with achieving the set targets in the grant and National TB Strategic plan.
“We will also work with the various levels of Government, our partners and the private sector to mobilise additional domestic resources to fill the current gap in TB funding.”
In his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdullaziz Abdullahi, said the federal government was delighted to be a principal recipient of the grant.
He also assured of strict compliance to due process and transparency in the management of the funds.
Speaking earlier, the Head of Grant Management, Global Fund, Mark Edington, commended the federal government for the prompt release of her 2018 counterpart fund.
He also solicited for more commitment from state governments towards the programme so as to end the scourge. “The fight against TB and HIV/AIDS should no longer be business as usual,’’ Edington said.