By Cecilia Ologunagba
Nigeria has received $890 million grant from Global Fund to reduce the burden of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria over an implementation period of three years, beginning from 2021 to 2023.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, announced the receipt of the grant at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GF) is an innovative international financing mechanism established by the United Nations in 2002, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
It is a global partnership of governments, civil society and private donors.
It was established for the purpose of attracting, leveraging and investing resources to fund public health interventions to accelerate the eradication of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in affected high burden countries, towards Sustainable Development Goals.
Ehanire said that the fund was the largest made to any country in the funding cycle, attributing it to the successful funding request made by the Nigeria Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM).
CCM Nigeria, the custodian of Global Fund (GF) grant, is a body of representatives of government, bilateral and multilateral organisations, Civil Society Organisations, patients, communities, the private sector and academia.
The mandate of CCM is to oversee the delivery of Global Fund HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Resilient Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH) grant.
According to him, the CCM, Country Coordinating Mechanism Nigeria is the official national establishment, through which The Global Fund relates with Fund recipient countries.
“The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, facilitated the establishment of Nigeria’s CCCM in March 2002 as the recognised entity with the mandate to receive Global Fund grants on behalf of the country.”
The minister said the Global Fund raised and invested nearly four billion dollars a year to support programmes in countries and communities that are most in need.
Ehanire said Nigeria ranked among the largest recipients of Global Fund investments in the world.
“Since inception in 2002, The Global Fund has committed the sum of USD$2,585,537,824 to operations in Nigeria, which are split into four programme areas: (a) HIV/AIDS, (b) Tuberculosis, (c) Malaria, (d) Resilient Systems Strengthening for Health, (RSSH).
“Of that amount, Nigeria has, as of date, accessed US$2,436,371,946, representing 94 per cent of the committed amount.
“Key achievements of the Global Fund investments in Nigeria are as follows:
“For the HIV/AIDS component, the Fund investment has contributed to placing 1.04 million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) on treatment in Nigeria. With the support of the Fund, Nigeria has provided life-saving ARVs for 194,900 PLHIV on ART.
“In addition, the fund supported the 2018 NAIIS survey which provided precise data on the epidemic in Nigeria, confirming HIV prevalence of 1.3 per cent,’’ he said
On the TB programme, the minister said with the support of the fund, about 120,000 TB cases were identified and treated annually since the inception while TB services provided in more than 12,000 health facilities.
“We have provided 398 GeneXpert machines in 36 states and FCT.’’
For malaria, he said the Global Fund had contributed to a decline in malaria prevalence from 42 per cent to 23 per cent from 2010 – 2018.
“Eleven million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated mosquito nets are distributed annually through mass campaigns.
“At least 4 million confirmed malaria cases treated annually at public health facilities in 13 states supported by the Global Fund.
“The Fund has also built six Pharma grade medical warehouses, supported procurement of three X-ray mobile vans for screening of tuberculosis in Lagos.
“This is in addition to infrastructural upgrade of health facilities and laboratories and capacity building for frontline health care workers under RSSH.’’
According to him, Global Fund conducts fund replenishment meetings every three years, where it mobilises contributions from governments, private sector and philanthropists to support its public health programmes around the globe.
“Nigeria also contributes as these events and has so far contributed a cumulative sum of 28.62 million dollars to the Global Fund since its inception, including 10 million dollars pledged at the replenishment in Montreal, Canada, in September 2016.
“At the last replenishment conference in Lyon, France, in October 2019, Nigeria increased its contribution to the Global Fund by 20 per cent with a pledge of 12 million dollars for the period 2021-2023.’’
In addition, the minister said the amount approved (890 million dollars) would be to support Nigeria’s HIV, TB, Malaria and Health Systems Strengthening Programmes.
“With this amount, Nigeria’s grant is reportedly the single highest allocation to any country and a demonstration of The Global Fund’s confidence in the administration and programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This grant will complement the investment of the Government of Nigeria and of other Development Partners in HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria programmes, including the Resilient and Sustainable System for Health, over the period 2021-2023.
“ The approval of this grant came following the review of the proposal that CCM Nigeria submitted on 23rd March 2020, which was adjudged to be technically sound and strategically focused by the independent Technical Review Panel of the Global Fund,’’ he said.
Ehanire further said with regard to Nigeria’s COVID-19 response effort, the Global Fund gave approval to repurpose the sum of 6.2Million dollars out of our on-going grants for HIV, TB and malaria, to support implementation of our initial Incident Action Plan (IAP) for COVID-19.
“This Fund was used to support rapid expansion of Nigeria’s diagnostics capacity for COVID-19 through decentralisation of testing to all 36 states and FCT, using existing TB diagnostic instrument – the GeneXpert Machine.
“It was also used for the procurement of Biosafety Cabinets for the GeneXpert Laboratories to be able to conduct COVID-19 tests, without exposing the laboratory scientists to risk of infection, mass campaign of test kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for frontline health workers.’’
Similarly, the minister said the Global Fund also approved a grant of 21.9 million dollars to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, the new grant being the result of a proposal Nigeria CCM submitted to The Global Fund few weeks ago.
“The new grant will be specifically used to procure test kits to support COVID-19 testing with the GeneXpert machine and other molecular laboratory equipment.
“Overall, The Global Fund grants for COVID-19 will support testing for about one million Nigerians over the next 12 months.
“On behalf of the President of the Federal Republic and the people of Nigeria, I extend appreciation to The Global Fund for the generous donations to Nigeria over the years,’’ he said.