• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Nigeria to channel fund in AfDB for Ebola containment in West Africa

Nigeria will channel her Trust Fund in African Development Bank (AfDB) to help West African countries completely contain the scourging Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the sub-region, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, said on Thursday in Washington.

In a live-cast conversation on the ‘Impact of the Ebola Crisis: A Perspective from the Countries’ at the ongoing World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington DC, Okonjo-Iweala told the audience of various efforts taken by the Nigerian government to contain the EVD scourge, while praising the private sector support as remarkable.

Ebola crisis is one of the topical issues being discussed here at the ongoing World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington DC, United States.

Okonjo-Iweala called on the global community to help West Africa, particularly the affected countries, avert what she called a potential crisis that could reverse remarkable economic development achievements made in the sub-region in recent years through various reform efforts.

She specifically recalled the $3.5 million donations by Nigeria through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to support Ebola-ravaged countries in the sub-region, pointing out, however, that a major step at winning the war against the disease would be a stronger private sector support and strengthening of the health systems on a global scale.

She warned that failure of the governments in the region and the international community to join forces in the current fight against the disease could impact negatively on the sub-regional economies and even have a global impact.

She told the audience that engaging the private sector would help in quick mobilisation of needed resources, including funds and logistics, to enable the various initiatives of the governments in other countries still battling with the crisis achieve the desired results in a timely manner.

She noted that the lesson learned so far is that quick communication and mobilisation of logistics is key, noting that the Nigerian private sector was very active in donating money and helping with logistics.

“The additional suggestion I want to make is that we have to bring in the private sector. They have varied expertise in logistics and we need them to come in and move the logistics in these situations.

“We quickly moved to donate money three months ago through ECOWAS and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan donated $3.5 million to the countries. We have been working through Redeemers University and our Centres for Disease Control to train health workers and do laboratory works,” the coordinating minister stated while explaining efforts made so far.

“We stand to do more and are ready to do more. I have talked to Donald Kaberuka about using the Nigerian Trust Fund at the AfDB to try and move quickly and my final point is short and medium term. Short term, yes humanitarian but medium term, Marshall Plan to strengthen health systems”, she added.