WORLD BANK LOANS NIGERIA $125M
By: OMOKHUALE PUAH
As part of the plans of the Ministry of Health, the Federal Government has been granted a $125 million loan, for the importation of more vaccines to eradicate the outbreak of polio.
The minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole stated this in a meeting with the senate committee on primary health care and communicable disease, yesterday, in Abuja.
Professor Adewole said that though N9.8 billion was budgeted for polio in the 2016 budget, but due to the high cost of vaccines, the loan facility of $125M became very necessary.
In the words of the minister of health, it was said that “due to the high amount in polio vaccines, Nigeria plans to obtain a loan facility of $125M from the World Bank, with which $60M will be used to eradicate polio in six rounds and $65M will be used as a preventive measure, against the outbreak of other communicable diseases. Any polio case is an epidemic and this made the recent cases in Borno an emergency in Nigeria and other countries around its border”.
According to him, the six rounds of the curtailment plan against polio, has started with the immunization of 800 000 children under the age of five, in five local government areas of Borno state against the polio virus. He explained that the second round of the curtailment plan which involves the immunization of children under age five in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe is ongoing.
Also, the minister of health stated that the third round of the curtailment exercise would cover 18 states in the 19 states of the North. As for the fifth round of the curtailment, the entire Nigeria would be covered, then the sixth round would comprise of an immunization of children in the Jere and Gwoza areas of Bornu state, Bama and Mafa, Maiduguri local government areas.
The minister of health pointed out that the Ministry is highly at the top of the case on Lassa fever. He assured that “Nigerians don’t need to panic over the spread of Zika virus because “Zika virus started in Nigeria since 1954 without any serious incident”.
At the occasion, government agencies were charged to manage funds from donor agencies, so as to achieve the purpose for the loan facility and that they have gotten all the supports needed for the discharge of duties. This was stated by the committee chairman, Senators Mao Ohuabunwa, PDP, Abia North and other members present.