Nigeria is worried over impact of COVID-19 – Health minister

Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, says Nigeria is worried about the impact and effect of COVID-19 on its citizens.

Ehanire said this in a statement issued by the Director, Information, Media and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Olujimi Oyetomi, on Monday in Abuja.

According to the statement, Ehanire said this when he welcomed the new World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo, in his office.

The minister told the new representative that Nigeria was pleased to have him on board as the Health Team would count on his experience to continue to calibrate on its response against COVID-19.

Ehanire also expressed the appreciation of Nigeria to the UN system, which had come together to create “One Basket Fund” to support the effort of the country in its fight against COVID-19.

He told his guest that the Fund had significantly boosted the resources and the assets which Nigeria used to respond to the virus.

“The first of which was the 2 million dollars consignment that came into Nigeria to kick start everything that Nigeria has to do, just as the other consignments begin to roll in.

“Nigeria has a good stock in the warehouse along with what we get from other countries, the EU and the US Government, UK and Global Fund.

“Everybody is shipping in from all sides and giving us support; we are pleased with the handholding that is going on, and we hope that all that will continue to grow.”

The new WHO Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, has been in Nigeria since June 18, for his second coming to work.

He has been in the country but in isolation as required by the protocol having been deployed from Accra, Ghana.

Mulombo said he was impressed by the set up at the Airport when he was coming in as well as the protocol put in place at the hotel he stayed in.

He said that Nigeria’s administrators handling COVID-19 protocols gave him the impression that they surely know what they are doing.

The WHO representative congratulated the minister for taking the leadership to make Nigeria certified polio-free.

“It is a very big achievement and it paves the way for the whole continent to be certified polio-free; in that we are very proud of Nigeria.”

He also congratulated Ehanire for the successful grant application for Global Fund through the first window where it was thought that Nigeria wouldn’t get it, but Nigeria made it.

Mulombo told his host that WHO would want to build on the success and to explore other avenues to support the Health Ministry and the Government of Nigeria.

He said the advantage and lessons learnt from managing Nigeria to a Polio-free country could be built upon to address COVID-19 and other health emergencies.

Before the coming of Mulombo to resume as the new WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Fiona Braka, has been acting and representing WHO on the Presidential Task Force of COVID-19, the flagship body for managing issues of COVID-19 in Nigeria. (NAN)