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Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire

Against the backdrop of global efforts to tackle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on countries’ socioeconomic life, the United Nations has provided the Nigerian government $2 million to procure essential medical supplies and to care for individuals with confirmed cases.

The UN will also assist in the rapid procurement of materials for surveillance, prevention and control, and clinical management, said the UN’s Resident Coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon.

Mr Kallon was speaking at a meeting in the capital Abuja with members of the National Leadership on COVID-19 led by the Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, as well as representatives of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Bank.

In addition, Mr. Kallon said that the UN will “immediately set up a Nigeria COVID-19 Response Fund… a single national platform and financing framework” that will foster coordination and effective mobilisation of resources and the deployment of strategies for impactful response.

He noted that the UN’s intervention was part of a strategy to ramp up response efforts and a recognition that collective efforts were urgently required in view of Nigeria’s socioeconomic situation.

Dr. Ehanire thanked the UN and assured that all financial and material support will be deployed to where it is most needed. He said the government was prepared for the best and worst scenarios.

The health minister emphasised that the government will continue to follow the containment strategy it has in place.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the NCDC had established Public Health Emergency Operations Centres in 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states to monitor and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. The centres have now been activated.

On 24 March the NCDC reported 44 confirmed cases, including 41 active cases, two discharged cases and one death.

*** Written by Oluseyi Soremekun / Africa Renewal.