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NCDC says Nigeria needs N1.6bn emergency fund to fight coronavirus

The agency says the emergency fund will be used to contain the spread of the virus in the country.

Nigerian Airports officials screening visitors coming into the country for Coronavirus. [Twitter/@MansurIB007]

Dr Precillia Ibekwe, Deputy Director, Special Duties, NCDC, disclosed this at a news briefing addressed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, an update on the virus on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government has so far identified 61 contacts of the index Covid-19 case currently placed under supervision.

Ibekwe said the emergency fund, when considered, would be used to contain the spread of the virus in the country.

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She said the fund would particularly be spent on infection prevention and control, surveillance and epidemiology, case management, laboratory diagnosis, logistics, supply as well as risk communication activities.

The special duties director said the fund would also support facilities to help prevent, assess and respond to health events at Points of Entry and to ensure National Health Security in the country.

She expressed delight on intervention by the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) that had pledged N200 million to support the government towards curbing the spread of coronavirus in the country.

So far, what Nigeria has gotten were strictly domestic funding. Some of the assistance we get from donors are in form of policy advice, technical assistance, while some of them build on existing instruments and expertise to help the country respond to the virus,” she said.

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Ibekwe further explained that the NCDC was in talks with local and international partners to get the needed funding, adding that the money gathered so far was being utilised to scale up responses.

She, however, urged the private sector and other philanthropists to support government’s efforts in strengthening preparedness and responses to COVID-19.

“Businesses are only as strong as the communities they are a part. Private organisations need to figure out how to support coronavirus response efforts by providing money, equipment, or expertise.

“In an increasingly interconnected world, we are truly all in this together. The work of public health is everyone’s business and it requires all citizens to get involved in the fight”, she said.

NAN reports that the first tranche of the N620 million budgeted for emergency response on COVID19 outbreak has been released by the federal government.

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The minister also said tall monies approved to NCDC had to go through a lot of process, adding that NCDC had made procurement on credit from its regular suppliers.

"They were given materials on credit, but many of them have been settled," he said.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom reported its first death from coronavirus on Thursday; an elderly person with underlying health conditions, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and South Africa had also reported their first cases.

Globally, more than 95,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the vast majority in China.

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