THE United States Government has contributed more than $73 million in equipment and technical assistance since the outbreak of COVID-19, a highly infectious viral disease that has killed over 2,063 in Nigeria.
The US Secretary of State, Mr. Antony J. Blinken and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Beth Leonard disclosed this during a virtual health partnership meeting between the US and Nigeria.
Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib; Chief Medical Officer, Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, Prof. Saad Ahmed and Head of Internal Medicine Department, Abuja FMC, Dr. Jane Chukwu were at the meeting.
Blinken observed that the relationship between the US and Nigeria “covered a vast array of issues vital to both American and Nigerian people. A key issue that we have worked on together for years is health.” He revealed that the US had reached more than 60 million Nigerians through programs that train public health workers, invest in medical facilities and improve access to medicines, vaccines, reproductive health care.
Blinken, also, disclosed that more than 1.3 million people with HIV/AIDS are on lifesaving treatment through the US program to combat HIV/AIDS around the world under the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
He pointed out a remarkable achievement, which according to him, the program is rapidly closing in on an epidemic – on epidemic control, over the next two years in Nigeria and has brought child death rates from malaria down to 16 per cent.
In 2020, the secretary of state observed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared Nigeria wild poliovirus-free, an outstanding accomplishment by tireless frontline workers whom the US was proud to support through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
He said: “People will keep getting sick and dying. We will not be able to safely reopen our economies or travel around the world for business and tourism the way we used to. That is why the US is committed to helping end the pandemic in Nigeria and everywhere,” Blinken observed at the meeting.