By Abujah Racheal
The European Union on Monday assured Nigeria of its support in the fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, made this known at the launch of the Nigeria/UN COVID-19 Basket Fund on Monday in Abuja.
“At this time of need, Nigeria is not alone, the European Union is commiting to support the Government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges of the pandemic.
“The COVID19 Basket Fund avails us with the opportunity to cooperate and act rapidly in the deployment of assistance that can help enhance the healthcare services and cushion the most vulnerable,” he noted.
He welcomed the creation of the Basket Fund as a mechanism to channel urgent support.
Also speaking, Mr Edward Kallon, UN, Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Nigeria, said already, the world body through the “Basket Fund”, has mobilised over $2 million from the UN system for the procurement of essential medical supplies that will boost efforts of the Nigerian Government in containing the COVID-19.
He added that other key donors have welcomed the creation of the Basket Fund as a mechanism to channel urgent assistance.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that the UN system in Nigeria, launched the COVID19 Basket Fund to complement ongoing efforts to mobilise resources in support of the National COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Pandemic Response Plan, developed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Also speaking, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health commend the Executive Director of the Global Fund for exhibiting flexibility, which had allowed Nigeria to submit a proposal to reprogramme savings from existing Global Funds grants to urgently scale up surveillance and diagnostics.
Ehanire added that it has also allowed the government to control infectious and other strategic measures to support the national COVID-19 response plan.
NAN reports that COVID-19 has spread across 209 Countries and Territories around the world, with a reported 1,249,107 confirmed cases world-wide, 67,998 deaths with about 236,270 people who have recovered from the disease as April 5 2020.
The Disease has placed considerable and significant strain on the global health care system.
Currently 54 African countries are now affected with the disease. Given the relentless exponential growth rate witnessed in other countries, the spread of the virus in the continent and in particular in Nigeria should be expected.
As at April 5 , there are 224 confirmed cases with five deaths across 14 states in Nigeria.
The Government of Nigeria continues to take stringent steps to contain the spread of the disease and manage confirmed cases.
Testing capacity has been expanded and shall continue to expand. Currently two states and the FCT are under lockdown even as the government push harder on awareness creation among Nigerians. It international points of entry also remain closed.