Buhari Demands Accountability On $890m Health Grant
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, to ensure effective utilisation of Global Fund’s provision of $890million over the next three years, to support Nigeria’s fight against HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, “$890 million health grant to Nigeria: President Buhari demands periodic performance reports from ministry.”
According to the statement, the President spoke at the virtual launch of the grant for the period of 2021-2023, which will also support the establishment of resilient and sustainable systems for health in the country.
The statement quoted Buhari as saying that, ”Let me also emphasise here that this administration has zero-tolerance for corruption and inefficient use of resources.
”In this regard, I hereby direct the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to set up an accountability framework, to monitor the use of this fund and provide periodic performance reports to my office.”
The President was also said to have assured donor agencies and development partners of judicious use of the grant.
He said the funding would complement investments in the health sector, help curb new infections, and reduce HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria-related morbidity and mortality.
”It is my wish that in the next three years, these three diseases are taken much further down the path of elimination,” he added.
The President also applauded the Global Fund for their contribution of $51million during the early stages of Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to procure Personal Protective Equipment, test kits and scale-up diagnostic capacity.
”I acknowledge the support of Development Partners, namely; the United States Government, the United Nations System, bilateral agencies and various local and international foundations.
”I am pleased to say that, on our part, we are on track to fulfilling our co-financing commitments to the Global Fund for this new funding cycle and meeting our other commitments as and when due,” he said.
Commending the work of Nigeria’s Country Coordinating Mechanism, under the leadership of the Minister of Health, Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
He pledged that his regime would continue to work with fellow Heads of State and Governments across the continent to ensure sustained high-level political engagement to achieve the SDG goals.
The President recounted that the strong partnership between the government and people of Nigeria and Global Fund, dating back to 2002, had contributed immensely to saving lives, especially of women and children.
According to him over the last two decades, joint efforts with the Global Fund, the United States Government, the United Nations and other development partners, had succeeded in bringing about significant reduction in new infections, morbidity and mortality from HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
He attributed the improvements to the effective alignment of our various national investments, using the most recent evidence to inform policies, strategies and plans.
”The thrust of our government in the health sector is to ensure that investments get a health systems strengthening focus, as the most efficient way to utilize available resources and position Nigeria on the path to sustainability of health programmes.
”The minister of health is pursuing this trajectory,” he said.
On Nigeria’s contribution to the fund, the President announced that he approved $12million to the last Global Fund Replenishment held in Lyon, France, representing a 20 per cent increase on the country’s immediate previous contribution.
”Our administration is committed to increasing domestic financing and exploring other innovative ways of increasing financing for health, to ensure Universal Health Coverage,” Buhari said.
The statement also quoted Ehanire as, speaking in his capacity as the chair of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund programmes in Nigeria, saying Nigeria recently signed eight grants amounting to $890million to support HIV, TB and Malaria programmes and build resilient and sustainable systems for health.
Giving an overview of the grant, he said two of them are for HIV management, amounting to $310million, and will be administered by two principal recipients namely the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and Family Health International.
According to the minister, $180million of the $310million was earmarked for procurement of antiretroviral medicines, which will maintain 1.4million Nigerians living with HIV on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment.
He explained that three of the grants, amounting to $153million are for TB, to be administered by three principal recipients including the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, the Institute for Human Virology in Nigeria and the Lagos State Ministry of Health.
He added that two of the grants for malaria elimination, amounting to $439million would be administered by two principal recipients – the National Malaria Elimination Programme and the Catholic Relief Services while the eighth and final grant worth $35million for Resilient System for Sustainable Health has NACA as principal recipient.
In her goodwill message, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S Embassy in Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon, was said to have described Nigeria’s recent contribution to the Global Fund as an important commitment to end all the three diseases and to ensure a healthy and prosperous country.
”We hope the achievements made in Nigeria in the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria, with support from the Global Fund, will inspire and motivate health workers and other partners alike,” the representative of the U.S. Government, which is the largest single donor to the Global Fund, said.
Speaking virtually from Geneva, the Executive Director, Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Peter Sands, while commending the partnership with Nigeria, said in addition to the $890m grant, the Global Fund has disbursed $2.6billion to support HIV, TB and Malaria and strengthening of RSSH, since 2003.
OYO SUBEB Monitors 2nd Term Unified Exams
Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Nureni Aderemi, has announced the commencement of the board’s monitoring of the second term unified examination in all public primary schools across Oyo State.
Adeniran made this known while inspecting schools in Ibadan North-East Local Government area of the state, Wednesday.
He said the motive behind the examination exercise was to ensure simultaneous participation of all schools in the examination process.
The chairman appealed to school head teachers to ensure adherence to the time-table given to them by the State Government.
He expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of schools and students describing it as ‘quite impresive’.
Adeniran, who said the conduct was smooth, added that efforts and arrangements put in place by the State Government in printing unified question-papers for all schools in the state would ensure better performance of pupils.
According to him, the introduction of a unified examination time-table and questions was to give better credence to the exercise.
He further commended the schools and pupils for their adherence to the examination instructions.
The board’s monitoring team visited schools in Ibadan North; Ibarapa; Ibadan North-West, Ibadan South-West and Ibadan South-East Local Government areas.
VC Advocates Grantsmanship As Condition For Promotion
Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin UNILORIN) Professor Wahab Egbewole, has advocated a restructure of the university system in Nigeria where grantsmanship will be recognised in promotion guidelines.
Egbewole made the suggestion when he received a team of facilitators of the Train The Trainers’ (TTT) workshop on ‘Research Proposal Writing and Grant Management’ in Ilorin, midweek.
Egbewole, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)), identified fundable research grants as one of the problems that researchers in Nigeria are battling with.
The Vice Chancellor lamented that some professors in Nigeria did not know how to write research proposals that can attract so much funding.
According to him, this is where the universities have to focus their attention, while expressing optimism that the workshop initiated by TETFund would facilitate the required enablers.
He, therefore, urged the organisers to put up some measurable indices to evaluate the success or otherwise of what has been invested in the training.
He also encouraged researchers to redirect their energy to publications that are impactful to the society and address local challenges instead of publications that are left to decay on the shelf.
The vice chancellor said that UNILORIN would also organise a similar workshop that would accommodate more staff.
Earlier, TETFund TTT team facilitator, Mr Nuhu Ogirima, said the significance of the workshop was to conduct a stepping down of knowledge earlier acquired by the facilitators on fundable research.
Ogirima explained that Nigeria is struggling among the developing nations because most of the policies of the government are not based on research from academia, which makes them unacceptable by the people.
He observed that there is no difference between academic writing, writing for promotion, writing to impact policy and writing to galvanise the economy.
“TETFund has taken a giant stride towards getting cutting edge research sponsored towards advancing the nation”, he said.
FG Begins Registration Of Medical Laboratories
The Federal Government has begun an online registration of medical laboratories in Nigeria to enhance service delivery.
The Registrar, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, Dr Tosan Erhabor, made this known in Abuja, recently at a meeting with stakeholders and the agency’s consultants on automation led by Prof. Effiong Akpan of the University of Calabar.
He called on stakeholders to avail themselves of the great opportunities offered by the new framework to enhance service delivery.
Erhabor said the registration would scale up efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, speed of service delivery, and data collation and management.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting was to enable stakeholders to witness firsthand and possibly critique the ongoing digitalisation of the medical laboratory registration process.
“This is the latest in the series of council processes to be moved from the manual to the digital platform.
“In spite of our meagre resources, the council has successfully transformed other processes including Licensure, Examination, Indexing, Accreditation Service, and External Quality Assurance and now the registration of medical laboratories”, he said.
Erhabor urged medical laboratory proprietors to continue working with the council to enhance service delivery.
He said proprietors would henceforth be able to register their laboratories seamlessly and from their preferred locations without the need to visit the council’s headquarters in Abuja.
“I am pleased to note that automation has raised our profile among stakeholders, and we must commend the consultants for a job well done”, he said.
Responding, Akpan lauded the council management for scaling up hitherto manual processes into the digital environment to enhance service delivery despite the prevailing economic challenges.
“My team and I are proud to be associated with the council and we encourage other agencies should emulate you in this respect”, he said.
Akpan expressed confidence that the stakeholders would also be proud of the council’s efforts.
Recall that in September 2022, the Federal Government threatened to shut down unregistered medical laboratories in the country.
The council was warned not to relent or rest on its oars in the discharge of its statutory duties.
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