By Adedayo Akinwale
The United States government has disclosed that the new funding for Nigeria for the prevention and mitigation of the coronavirus pandemic has reached the sum of $21.4 million.
The US government, in a statement issued on Thursday by its Mission in Abuja, said that the funding would support critical activities to control the spread of the disease, such as rapid public-health information campaigns, water and sanitation and preventing and controlling infections in healthcare facilities.
It added that as part of this comprehensive response from the American people, the US Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have committed nearly $508 million in emergency health, humanitarian and economic assistance, aside the funding it already provided to multilateral and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) helping communities around the world in dealing with the pandemic.
“The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State, announced on April 17 that new funding for Nigeria for prevention and mitigation of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached $21.4 million.
“Approximately four fifths of the assistance – nearly $18 million – will go towards humanitarian assistance and includes risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention and coordination, and humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and their host communities.
“The U.S. government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic even while we battle the virus at home,” U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard said of the assistance.
“Our assistance is rolling out gradually as we reconfigure priorities in response to the evolving situation,” she said.
The US government noted that two examples of USAID assistance included support for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in sending a million SMS messages a day to Nigerians and going door-to-door in the North-east to prevent outbreaks in the country’s most vulnerable areas along with a host of other activities in urgent development.
This assistance, it said, was in addition to more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than $5.2 billion in US health assistance alone.