By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN), a national advocacy group, has said that Nigeria was eligible to receive $29.8 million (about N10.5 billion) from the Global Fund for tackling the COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
The group said that the Global Fund which assists countries worldwide in tackling health issues had made available $1 billion to support efforts directed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
It disclosed that Nigeria could also apply for additional $59 million towards COVID-19 mitigation.
The Global Fund assisted accountability advocacy group expressed worry that the country may witness the doubling of casualties from malaria, HIV and tuberculosis due to COVID-19 imposed disruptions in healthcare delivery system.
ACOMIN also warned that the country runs the risk of a complete reversal in the progress so far made in anti-malaria and tuberculosis campaign.
Speaking during the presentation of the group’s health sector situation report in Abuja yesterday, ACOMIN National Coordinator, Mr. Ago Ipinmoye said that analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNAIDS and Stop TB partnership indicates that annual death tolls across the three diseases could double if nothing drastic is done to arrest the situation.
“Analysis from WHO, UNAIDS, Stop TB partnership and others suggest that this annual death toll across the three diseases could nearly double, wiping out years of progress, if we do not act decisively.
“The scale of disruption to HIV, TB malaria as a result of COVID-19 is indicated by the latest Global survey, covering 106 countries, which suggests that approximately three quarters of HIV, TB, and malaria programmes have been impacted,” he said.
Ipinmoye said that the situation was even worse in some of the vulnerable communities where healthcare services were underserved.
“They are under the threat of COVID-19 and are at the risk of a resurgence of malaria, HIV and TB. As the resources that used to serve these communities which were inadequate to begin with is stretched to serve the needs of COVID-19, alongside the economic downturn occasioned by the lockdown could result in nutritional deficiencies and collapse of services,” he said.
While giving update on the activities of ACOMIN, Ipinmoye said that its advocacy efforts had helped to improve tremendously hospital attendance by health workers in states like Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe and Osun.
He also said that the group had facilitated the recruitment of additional health workers for healthcare facilities in many of the states.