US Assistance to Fight Pandemic in Nigeria Hits $21.4m

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The United States Government has disclosed that the new funding for Nigeria to prevent and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic has reached the sum of $21.4 million.

The US Government in a statement issued thursday by its Mission in Abuja said 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 health-care 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 organisations (NGOs) helping communities around the world to deal with the pandemic.

US Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard, said: “The United States Government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State announced on April 17 that new funding for Nigeria to prevent and mitigate the novel coronavirus has reached $21.4 million.

“Approximately four fifths of the assistance-nearly $18 million-will go towards humanitarian assistance, including risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination and humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities.

“The US Government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic even while we battle the virus at home. “Our assistance is rolling out gradually as we reconfigure priorities in response to the evolving situation.”

The US government noted that two examples of USAID assistance included support for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in sending a million SMS message a day to Nigerians and going door-to-door in the Northeast to prevent outbreaks in the country’s most vulnerable areas along with a host of other activities.

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.