By Vanessa Okwara
The Federal Ministry of Health has said that it is yet to access funding from international donors on Coronavirus, COVID19, preparedness in the country and that all expenditures on it are domestically funded.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdulaziz, while the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, was giving an update on the disease in the country, on Friday in Abuja.
It was reported that IMF is making available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.
Of the amount, $10 billion is available at zero interest for the poorest members through the Rapid Credit Facility.
President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, also announced an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support for countries coping with COVID-19; a package which include emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance.
Abdullaiziz, said: “it is just the domestic funding that we have. The one that was announced by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and World Bank Group, are interventions made by the two institutions. But guidelines and framework of accessing the money is still yet to be developed.
“I believe the country representatives in various countries where the disease manifested will be getting in touching with them to see how we can access it, but for now I think it is strictly domestic funding the country is accessing.”
Abdulaziz also disclosed that some donors and partners met with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to see how they could support with detection and response to the disease, and described the interventions as timely and important by their commitment to fight against Covid19.
He added, “The interventions are timely. This is not just a public health crisis, it is rapidly becoming a global crisis of health, economics and politics.
“That’s why the country is ramping up to execute COVID19, response, isolation, quarantine, as well as develop measures to contain and detect the outbreak.”
Abdulaziz recalled that such intervention gave birth to the establishment of the National Ebola Emergency Operations Centre, EEOC, in Yaba, Lagos State.
While disclosing that the government was mobilising relevant agencies to get the country ready for the virus; the Permanent Secretary urged Nigerians to join in taking the actions needed to be safe, smart and disregard fake reportage of the virus, saying, “We will emphasise early detection, isolation, treatment and the government’s engagement.”
Meanwhile, the health Minister, Ehanire, responding to remarks by the Senate President on the poor state of the isolation centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja, said that the facility was now in good condition; even as he clarified that all the monies approved to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, had been disbursed.
Revealing that the government had already set plans in motion to put up a state of the art centre, which construction is ongoing, and the contractor has also been asked to fast-track it, Ehanire said, “They said it will be finished by next month, so they used the building which they wanted to use for intensive care, it has been furnished and prepared, staff has been trained and all protocols have been established.
“The Senate President went there when the finishing touches were being put and I think he expected that the bed was already made.
“Another team visited the next day, they saw that it was already completed and the chairman of the Senate Committee said there has been a lot of improvement.
“All monies approved got to NCDC, but had to go through a lot of process, but NCDC had made procurement on credit from its regular suppliers, they were given materials on credit, but many of them have been settled.”
He added that the measure taken not to wait until money was available before making the necessary procurement was a good one.