By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Nigeria would be accessing $125 million World Bank loan to tackle the recent polio outbreak and other health challenges in the country, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has disclosed.
Prof Adewole told the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases on Thursday in Abuja that the total amount to be accessed after the approval of the National Assembly would be N60 million.
He explained that the money would be earmarked for polio while the remaining fund would be used for other health problems.
He said following the outbreak of polio in Borno State recently, the Federal Government had immunized 800,000 children under the age of five in five local government areas of the state.
He said the local governments, which had the population of about 1 million people are Jere, Gwoza, Mafa, Maiduguri Municipality and Bama.
According to him, the FG has released N10 billion from the 2016 budget to fight the epidemic. He, however, said a total sum of N30 billion would be required to tackle the menace.
“The resurgence of polio is an unusual development and a major setback considering the investment of the international committee and the whole world was looking forward to celebrate Nigeria next year.
“I wasn’t expecting polio as a challenge, I was expecting teenage pregnancy and other health challenges, the Minister said.
Speaking on what his Ministry was doing to curtail the outbreak, Prof Adewole noted that relevant stakeholders are being partnered with to search for more cases.
“We are looking for more cases [because] we want to assume there could be many more of the cases.”
But Chairman of the committee, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, urged the ministry to embark on more sensitisation and advocacy, pledging the support of the Senate in tackling the issue together.
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