House Laments Non-disbursement of World Bank’s $300m Malaria IMPACT Funds
Udora Orizu in Abuja
The House of Representatives, Wednesday expressed concerns over the late/non-disbursement of the $300 million World Bank supported Immunisation Plus and Malaria Progress by Accelerating Coverage and Transforming Services Project (IMPACT) funds in Nigeria.
The World Bank’s IMPACT fund is a project facility designed as a vehicle to fast-track government’s intervention in malaria to reduce under-five mortality in the Nigeria for 13 beneficiary states.
The lawmakers noted that despite the preparedness of the World Bank and the Islamic Bank to disburse the funds, almost 2 years later, the IMPACT Project is yet to commence.
The House urged the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Malaria Programme, and other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prioritise local content when procuring Malaria Commodities using funds from the IMPACT projects facility.
It resolved to invite the leadership of the National Malaria Programme to explain why defective mosquito nets are still being procured, imported and distributed in Nigeria against World Health Organization standards and local content directives from this House.
The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion, on the need for urgent in Nigeria’s losses in fight against Malaria, sponsored by the House Spokesman Hon. Benjamin Kalu and two others at plenary.
Moving the motion, Kalu said Nigeria alone accounts for 27 percent of malaria cases and 31 percent of malaria deaths worldwide, with malaria killing no fewer than 200,000 Nigerians and afflicting 61 million others in 2021.
The lawmaker observed that despite efforts to contain malaria, Nigeria loses over $1.1 billion (N645.7 billion) yearly to prevention and treatment of the disease as well as other costs.
He said Nigeria is presently one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Global Fund grant with the current grant 2021 to 2023 value of $412 million.
He worries that the global fund grant is under threat due to poor absorption, poor performance and lack of domestic resource mobilisation which will have a negative impact in the next grant allocation and other partnership opportunities.
He said the effect of this poor performance by NMEP is already evident in the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has now neglected Nigeria in favour of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi for the roll out of the RTS-S/AS01 malaria vaccine.
Kalu said, “the House is aware that Nigeria made notable progress in the scaling up and impact of malaria interventions over the years. For instance, utilization of mosquito nets in children less than five years of age increased significantly, from 6% to 49% and parasite prevalence also came down from 42% in 2010 to 23% in 2018. Concerned however, that the recent 2021 Malaria Indicator survey analysis shows that Nigeria is sliding back with a parasite prevalence of 32%.
“With the onset of the rainy season, Nigeria is in dire need of malaria interventions. Recalls that on 2nd December 2020 the Federal Government inaugurated the National Steering Committee of World Bank Supported Immunization Plus and Malaria Progress by Accelerating Coverage and Transforming Services Project (IMPACT), a $300 million project facility designed as a vehicle to fast-track government’s intervention in malaria to reduce under-five mortality in the Nigeria for 13 beneficiary states.
“Concerned that almost 2 years later, despite the preparedness of the World Bank and the Islamic Bank to disburse the funds, the IMPACT Project is yet to commence. Further concerned that in the past year, non-WHO approved mosquito nets have been procured and distributed in Nigeria without any rejection of this product by the leadership of the National Malaria Programme. Worried that more of these non-WHO approved mosquito nets are being imported into Nigeria despite a resolution by this House calling for the prioritization of local content in the procurement of Malaria commodities.”