Indeed it is cheery news coming in from the Federal Ministry of Health over the latest grant awarded to the Nigeria by The European Union. Already bedevilled by a fast breakdown of her health structures and healthcare delivery systems, The Federal Government must be ecstatic over this project.
The first phase of the EU-funded project would be implemented jointly by the UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the target states.
Nigerians, especially Medical Doctors and other health professional, believe that this grant is an indication of better day to come.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Michael Arrion, Head, EU Delegation to Nigeria, said EU considers support to the health sector in Nigeria a priority.
Arrion said the importance of improving maternal and new-born health outcomes and strengthening the health system resilience was emphasised in the partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health.
He described strengthening health resilience as an important element for drawing up the National Strategy Paper of the 11 European Development Fund (EDF) jointly signed by European Commission and the federal government.
According to him, the EDF had earmark 512 million Euro support to Nigeria over a five-year period under which this 70 million Euros grant is funded.
He explained that the EU is working with Nigeria to address developmental challenges in key priority areas under the 11 EDF.
He urged the stakeholders to jointly resolve to optimise this additional support towards ensuring better health and eventual universal health coverage for all.
Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, said the grant would be implemented by the ministry, WHO, UNICEF and state ministries of health of the benefitting states.
He listed the benefitting states as Adamawa, Bauchi, Kebbi, Sokoto and Anambra.
“The grant will strengthen 774 PHCs, and it will contribute to the revitalisation of the 774 PHCs; promote maternal and new born health in Adamawa, Kebbi and Bauchi states.
“For Anambra and Sokoto states the grant will strengthen healthcare system and contribute to the polio control so that beyond this year Nigeria will be completely free of polio,’’ Adewole said.
Gov. Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, who responded on behalf of the benefitting states, commended the minister for realising the fact that states are the population centres, thereby pushing the projects to states.
He therefore requested the beneficiaries to use the grant judiciously and built the internal capacity; days should be gone whereby projects like this were implemented through consultants.
He expressed concerned that engaging consultants in projects like this will make more resources to go to the consultants than the target groups.