By Ochiaka Ugwu
The United States assistance to Nigeria towards stemming the tide of coronavirus pandemic has reached $21.4 Million, the US mission in Nigeria has announced.
In a statement released Tuesday in Abuja by Press Unit of the United States Embassy in Abuja noted United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State, announced on April 17 that new funding for Nigeria for prevention and mitigation of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached $21.4 million.
The statement read that approximately four fifths of the assistance – nearly $18 million – will go towards humanitarian assistance and includes for risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination, and humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and their host communities.
“The U.S. government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic even while we battle the virus at home,” U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard said of the assistance. “Our assistance is rolling out gradually as we reconfigure priorities in response to the evolving situation.”
“This funding will support critical activities to control the spread of this disease, such as rapid public-health information campaigns, water and sanitation, and preventing and controlling infections in health-care facilities.
“Two early examples of USAID assistance include support for Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control in sending a million SMS messages a day to Nigerians and going door-to-door in the North East to prevent outbreaks in the country’s most vulnerable areas along with a host of other activities in urgent development.
“This assistance joins more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than $5.2 billion in U.S. health assistance alone.
“The United States is leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As part of this comprehensive response from the American people, the U.S. Department of State and USAID have now committed nearly $508 million in emergency health, humanitarian, and economic assistance on top of the funding we already provide to multilateral and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) helping communities around the world deal with the pandemic” the statement concludes.