world bank

World Bank Loans Nigeria $200M For Malaria Intervention

On Tuesday, the National Malaria Elimination Programme said that the World Bank was providing them $200 million loan to fund malaria intervention programmes in 13 states of the Federation. Dr. Perpetua Unomoibni, the National Coordinator of the Programme said that the loan provided by the World Bank was to take care of the anti-malaria efforts in the 13 states that are not covered by similar intervention programme being implemented in other 23 states.

During a ministerial press briefing at the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja, the Coordinator said that there were two components of the World Bank loan for Nigeria – the one for malaria and that of immunisation which is under the National Primary HealthCare Development Agency. According to her, “We got $200 million from the World Bank to cover malaria Intervention across 13 states. There is also a $100 million from the Islamic Bank. These are states that were not earlier covered by funding from the Global Fund Out of this amount, $10 million is grant while $90 million is loan.”

Dr. Unomoibni said that the programme was an implementing environmental management initiative in collaboration with the Nigeria Space Research Agency (NASDA), “to identify some of water bodies where we have malaria hot spots in the country.” She also stated that the programme was also working with various line ministries such the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Education in carrying out malaria research. According to her tackling malaria scourge requires a multi sectoral collaboration.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had revealed on Tuesday revealed that none of the African countries had met the COVID-19 vaccination target of 40 per cent of the eligible population. They revealed that only 18.7 per cent of the Africa’s population had been fully vaccinated. The latest update on the COVID-19 vaccination came out when Nigeria’s Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that experts from the country had recently completed a technology training programme on vaccine production that held in South Africa. He further added that the country was working in collaboration with a few research organisations outside the country for not only producing COVID-19 vaccine, but learning the capacity to produce any other type of vaccines that can be used to deal with some indigenous and tropical neglected diseases.

As she spoke at this year’s theme: “Long Life for All”, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti the WHO Regional Director for Africa, said that tens of millions of people were still missing out on some, or all, their scheduled immunisation against diseases that have long been eradicated by vaccines. She says that, “Although 480 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Africa to date, making it the biggest vaccine rollout in the history of the continent, only 18.7 per cent of the African population is fully vaccinated – lagging woefully behind the global average of 58 per cent,” she said.

Dr. Moeti said more than a year into the COVID-19 global vaccine rollout, Africa had been benefiting from the speedy, efficient development of vaccines to curb the virus. In her own words, there are currently ten COVID-19 vaccines available through the COVAX Facility, with more in the research and development pipeline. Dr. Moeti said that WHO, together with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, World Bank, the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, has identified 20 priority countries in the WHO African Region for intensified support. She added that multi-partner country support teams are currently on the ground helping countries with technical and financial resources to ramp up overall and high-priority group COVID-19 vaccination coverage.

“As we work to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination efforts, it is critical that we don’t ignore the urgent need to also strengthen routine immunisation efforts. Since 2020, routine immunisation has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 containment measures, leading to tens of millions of infants in Africa missing out on essential childhood vaccinations. These include the Diphtheria, Tetanus toxoid and Pertussis (whooping cough)-containing vaccine, as well as the measles vaccine. As WHO in Africa, we urge all countries to ramp up routine immunisation and COVID-19 vaccination efforts concurrently, allocating the necessary resources. Maintaining routine immunisation services, despite the shift of resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years, is more cost-effective, and will lead to longer life for all”

Dr. Ehanire who had briefed journalists on the update on COVID-19 intervention efforts said that federal government was following up on the plan to revamp the local vaccine manufacturing capacity mentioned that, “Nigeria recently completed training on COVID-19 vaccine production technology by WHO in South Africa and work is currently going on at the BioVaccine company. We are looking at working with two platforms, because of our population. We have to have these preparations made by identifying the vaccine production capacity that we can use to start off other production platform to be able to produce multiple types of vaccines. There are many disease patterns in our country which we need to be able to take care of such as TB, malaria and other endemic diseases and these should have vaccines. So the research components have to be included.”