Gates Foundation Commits $250m To Combat COVID-19 Pandemic

File photo: Bill and Melinda Gates

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said on Thursday it had pledged $250 million in additional funding towards the global campaign to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the funds will be channelled to the distribution of life-saving doses of Covid-19 vaccines to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

“We have new drugs and more potential vaccines than we could have expected at the start of the year,” said Bill Gates in a statement.

READ ALSO: Israel To Start COVID-19 Vaccinations On December 27

“But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world,” he said.

Funding is one of the biggest hurdles for Africa, home to some of the world’s poorest countries.

The World Health Organization has identified the goal of vaccinating three percent of Africans by March 2021 and 20 percent by the end of next year.

But it said only around a quarter of 47 countries on the continent have enough plans for resources and financing.

Coordinator for the Gates Foundation’s Covid-19 response in Africa, Solomon Zewdu said part of the funding announced Thursday would help ensure that vaccines reach some 780 million people on the continent.

It is critical to make sure the vaccines “are effectively financed to find their way onto the continent and the least appreciated corners of Africa,” Zewdu told AFP in a virtual interview.

“The focus right now is to say …how do we get those vaccines beyond the tarmacs of particular airports like, you know Addis Ababa airport, Kinshasa, Lagos into communities and immunise people. Unless that’s done then we haven’t done the work.”

WHO estimates that getting the vaccine to “priority” population sectors in Africa will require $5.7 billion, plus 15-20 percent for delivery, syringes and other injection material.

Africa has recorded more than 2.3 million cases, of which 54,800 have been fatal.

South Africa, which with more than 828,000 cases is the continent’s worst-hit country, on Wednesday said it had now entered a second wave of the pandemic.

 

AFP

Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Donates $1 Million To Help Fight COVID-19 In Nigeria

A health worker takes a swab from a woman during a community COVID-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Abuja on April 15, 2020. The Nigerian government commence search and sample collections of eligible cases as they struggle to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as cases rise in Nigeria amidst lockdown.
Kola Sulaimon / AFP

 

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated one million dollars to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The fund was received on Tuesday by the UN Finance support platform, One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, it is aimed at supporting the country’s response in the management of the crisis and the realities of post-crisis, particularly in the protection of vulnerable persons.

The UNDP Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Yahya, said in a statement that as a COVID-19 response financing and investment platform, the One UN Response Basket Fund provides a timely opportunity to stand with Nigeria and channel financial contributions toward the COVID-19 multi-sectoral response.

 

A health worker helps his colleague with his PPE during a community testing in Abuja on April 15, 2020, as authorities race to contain the spread of COVID-19. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

About the Nigeria One UN COVID-19 Response

On 6 April 2020, The UN in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria launched the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund. The Basket Fund serves as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform, through which different stakeholders (including UN, other multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists) can channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.

As of June 2020, the Basket Fund, managed by UNDP has mobilised US$61.3 million, including US$54.6 million from the European Union (EU); US$2.2 million from UN agencies; $US4 million from the private sector (Dangote US$ 3.8 million and AP Maersk US$ 0.2 million); and US$0.4 million from the Government of Switzerland.

The overall management of the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund is led and coordinated by the Project Board. The Project Board has representation from the Presidential Task Force; Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), relevant Government departments, fund contributing donors and the UN.

Kaduna Partners With Bill Gates, China On Primary Healthcare, Agriculture

NPHCDA Decries Poor Primary Healthcare FundingThe Kaduna State Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have signed an agreement that will strengthen Primary Health Care service delivery and polio eradication drive in the state.

At a meeting between the parties, Vice President of the Foundation, Mrs Melinda Gates, said the partnership was aimed at ensuring the total eradication of polio and other child killer diseases in Africa.

She assured Governor Nasir El-Rufai that the foundation was committed to helping Nigeria address the problems of maternal and child mortality through funding and technical support.

“This new strategic partnership on health and governance, will advance the implementation and transformation of primary health care system in Kaduna State and build upon ongoing support by the foundation for polio eradication, routine immunisation, family planning as well as maternal and child health services,” Mrs Gates said.

The Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Dr Paul Dogo, told the Foundation that the state government was optimistic that the partnership would strengthen Primary Health Care in rural areas, to address the constant increase in mortality rates especially of mothers and children.

“The agreement underscores the present administration’s commitment to improving access to affordable and qualitative healthcare services to the people as well as reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in the state.

Kaduna, just like other states in Nigeria is faced with the challenges of lack of adequate healthcare facilities coupled with high rate if maternal and child deaths.

“With this partnership between the state government and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is expected that Primary Health Care Systems’ service delivery would be strengthened.

In another meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian, the state government established partnership with China in the area of agriculture.

The Chinese Ambassador assured the governor of his country’s determination to invest in the areas of Agriculture and manufacturing in Kaduna State.

He explained that his visit to the governor was to explore areas of collaboration between Kaduna State and the Republic of China.

The Ambassador told Channels Television that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is committed in strengthening the longstanding bilateral relationship and cooperation between the two countries through huge investment in the manufacturing industry such as textile production and mechanised agriculture.

 

Kaduna State Health Sector Gets Bill Gates, UK Supports

Kaduna, Health Care, MOU The Kaduna State health sector on Friday received a boost, as the government signs an agreement with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and ‘Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation.

The State government is optimistic that the agreement will strengthen primary Healthcare in rural areas, to address the constant increase in mortality rates especially of mothers and children.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai signed the Memorandum Of understanding on behalf of the Kaduna State government, while the UK Minister of State for International Development, Mr James Wharton, signed on behalf of the UK government.

Technical And Financial Assistance

El-Rufai said the agreement underscored his administration’s commitment to improving access to affordable and qualitative healthcare services to the people as well as reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in the state.

Due to poor distribution of facilities across the state, to reduce out-of-pocket expenditures on health, there has been limited access as well as low citizen demand for healthcare services.

With the Health Centres the state government is looking to strengthen Primary Health Care systems, improve service delivery and reduce financial barriers.

The tripartite agreement will therefore support Kaduna State’s efforts to increase and sustain effective, equitable coverage of essential health services.

The content of the MOU as presented by the state Commissioner For Health read: “While Kaduna State government will show commitment in implementing the primary healthcare under one roof, DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, will provide both technical and financial assistance under the MOU”.

Support Through Bilateral Relations

Mr Wharton said that as part of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and the UK, his country’s government would commit £500 million annually for execution of people-oriented projects in Nigeria.

He also announced that the United Kingdom government would continue to partner with states that had a genuine commitment to boosting their healthcare systems.

The Director of Community Health Services at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Emmanuel Odu, expressed optimism that the MOU would strengthen primary health care programmes in the state.

He also commended the commitment and support of Kaduna State government for providing budgetary allocation for the reduction of maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria.

Effective primary care interventions and the health sector generally, in Nigeria are currently at low standards.

Issues such as poor management of staff, allocation of funds, resources and a general lack of accountability have been prominent in the sector.

The plan to strengthen the primary healthcare system in Kaduna state is therefore expected to enable increased coverage of essential quality health services to the people, especially those in rural communities who presently have no access to basic healthcare services.

Bill Gates Foundation, Benue Govt. Partner On New Agricultural Innovations

BenueThe Benue State government is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in developing new innovations to boost productivity in its agricultural sector.

Governor Samuel Ortom was in a meeting with representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Makurdi on Monday to seek the foundation’s intervention in the state’s agricultural revolution.

Governor Ortom listed food processing and marketing as major challenges inhibiting the full utilization of its agricultural resources and potentials, adding that the state urgently needed solution in those areas.

Both Governor Ortom and leader of the delegation from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Jacob Mignouna, then agreed to simplify new agricultural innovations for small scale farmers in the state to improve their production and processing capacity.

The Governor also received a truck load of food items donated by a Chinese firm, Tongyi Group, on behalf of those who were displaced from their residence on the banks of River Benue in September 2015.

World Bank To Spend $2.1 Billion In Rebuilding North-East Nigeria

World BankThe World Bank has unfolded a package which would see it spending up to $2.1 billion in rebuilding the badly devastated North-eastern part of Nigeria, ravaged for the past six years by the Boko Haram insurgency.

At a meeting in Washington on Tuesday with representatives of the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization (WHO), President Buhari said that apart from rebuilding the region in terms of infrastructure, priority must also be given to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who now number over one million.

He urged the World Bank to send a team, which would work in concert with a team from the Federal Government, so that a proper assessment of needs could be done.

The World Bank will spend the 2.1 billion dollars through its IDA (International Development Agency), which gives low interest rates loans to government.

The first 10 years will be interest free, while an additional 30 years will be at lower than capital market rate.

The World Bank is eager to move in quickly, give out the loans, and give succour to the people of North-east, long at the mercy of an insurgency that has claimed over 20,000 souls.

WHO is also to invest 300 million dollars on immunization against malaria in Nigeria, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will collaborate with Dangote Foundation to ensure that the country maintains its zero polio case record of the past one year.

If the effort is sustained for another two years, Nigeria will be declared fully free of polio.

North-east Development: Dogara Seeks Aid From Canada, Bill Gates

Yakubu-Dogara-Speaker-House-of-RepsThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria has sought aid from the Canadian government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help address the devastation in the north-east caused by insurgency.

The Speaker, Honorable Yakubu dogara, made the appeal at a meeting with a delegation from the Canadian High Commission and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr Dogara said the region was in dire need of assistance to address its challenges.

The delegation from the Canadian High Commission was led by the High Commissioner, Perry Calderwood.

Mr Calderwood said his country had always enjoyed good relations with Nigeria and that they look forward to sustaining the relationship.

Perry-Calderwood
Perry Calderwood is hopeful Nigeria and Canada will continue to work together

The Speaker thanked the Canadian government for its contribution to Nigeria’s general elections held in March and April.

At the meeting with a delegation from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Dogara also appealed for support to re-develop the north-east.

The group led by the foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, assured the Speaker of the foundation’s support, but said that the group was in the National Assembly in connection with some legislation such as the health bill.

The Speaker assured the delegation that the National Assembly would remain committed to addressing the concerns of Nigerians and ensuring that Nigeria met its obligations with the international community.

At a meeting on June 19 with a delegation from Bauchi State led by the State Deputy Governor, Mr Nuhu Gidado, the Speaker assured them that he would use his position to seek foreign aid for the re-development of the region that has been devastated by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists.

He had at the meeting stressed that with the economic challenges facing the oil-rich nation the development of the north-east would not be achieved without foreign support.

The north-east has seen over five years of insurgency that has left close to two million persons homeless and over five million persons traumatised, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Counter-terrorism operations against the Boko Haram terrorists have continued in the region.

The terrorist group and trying to establish and Islamic State and end western education in the region.

Japan Issues Nigeria $85million Loan To Eradicate Polio

Japan NigeriaThe fight against polio in the country has received additional boost with an 85million dollars loan facility‎ by the Japanese Government.

At a meeting in Abuja, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ryuichi Shoji, explained that the loan facility would assist in closing gaps of financial assistance required to achieve zero polio cases in the country.

Speaking about the Japanese Government’s 14 year partnership with the Nigerian Government in the area of polio eradication, he said that the $85 million loan would have preferential interest rate of 0.2% per cent.

“The loan will be utilised for procurement of polio vaccines for children under five years of age,” Mr. Shoji said, adding that this would also have positive impacts on other countries.

“As long as a single child remained infected, children in all countries were at risk of polio”, he said.

Nigeria Country Representative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mairo Mandara, said that Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts have experienced notable progress owing to the political support it has enjoyed.

Revealing conditions surrounding the loan, she said: “After Nigeria has executed the loan agreement, the foundation will commit to repay the loan to Japan on behalf of Nigeria if the required immunisation coverage rates are met.”

On his part, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, promised to ensure prompt provision of vaccines to stamp out the scourge.

“The signing of the MOU is an important milestone for the country. It will help us to ensure the availability of vaccines and timely delivery.

“It is my hope that with the loan, polio will be interrupted this year,” Mr. Chukwu said.

$85 million is about 14billion Naira.

Polio Eradication: President Jonathan Joins Bill Gates

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, November 11, attended a forum organised by the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication in company of American Inventor and Philanthropist, Bill Gates.

While speaking at the event which also had Nigerian Businessman, Aliko Dangote in attendance, President Jonathan restated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that Polio is eradicated in Nigeria.

“We don’t want to hand over Polio to another government in 2015. With the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote and the Aliko Dangote Foundation and others, with the support of the State Governors I’m seeing here and the Local Government chairmen, I believe we will succeed.”

He also called on politicians across the country to ensure that political activities towards the 2015 General Elections do not affect the Government’s agenda to eradicate the wide polio virus in the country by 2014.

Mr. Bill Gates in his speech commended President Jonathan’s efforts at eradicating Polio in Nigeria, as his presence at the event to support the Presidential Task Force is an indication of his commitment to the cause. He also offered suggestions on how to make the initiative succeed.

The high point of the forum was the conferment of a National Honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic on the Co-Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, for his contribution to polio eradication in Nigeria.

Minister of State For Health Resigns

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammed Pate, has voluntarily resigned his appointed on President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet.

The Minister, in his letter of resignation, said he was leaving the cabinet to take up the position of  Professor in Duke University’s Global Health Institute, USA, in which capacity he will participate in a university-wide Africa initiative.

He will also serve as Senior Adviser to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation based in Washington DC.

The letter dated July 22 and addressed to the President was read at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

 

Pate however offered the continuation of his service to Nigeria on part-time basis as the chairman of the Presidential task force on polio eradication and the public-private coalition for saving one million lives initiative.

Special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, told state house correspondents that in accepting the Minister’s resignation, Dr Jonathan was highly elated that his “star-studded cabinet” was attracting global attention.

Dr Abati said the President saw the appointment as a plus for the administration and the country as he commended Dr Pate for the  integrity and competence he brought on board while carrying out his duties first as the chief executive of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and later as a Minister.

The President’s spokesman recalled that another cabinet member, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was one of those shortlisted for the position of the World Bank’s President last year.

“The President congratulated the Minister and accepted his offer to continue to serve on a part-time basis as honourary adviser.

Dr Pate who was appointed Minister in July 2011, is an American Board-Certified medical doctor in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, with an MBA (Health Sector Concentration) from Duke University, USA.

He is also a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Vaccination and Humanitarian Emergencies at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva.

Wada Bags Gates Foundation’s Award For Best Performing Governor

For his contribution to fight for the total eradication of polio in Kogi state, Governor Idris Wada has been formally honoured as the Best Performing Governor in Immunization in north-central zone.

Presenting the governor with the Nigeria Governor Immunization Leadership Challenge/Bill and Melinda Gates Award in Lokoja, the Director, National Health Care Development Agency, Ado Mohammed, who  represented the minister for heath said Governor Wada has perform well in terms of routing immunization in Kogi state.

The program took place at the Banquet Hall of the Government House.

While delivering his opening speech, the state commissioner for health, Idris Omede commended the governor for his commitment towards repositioning health care service delivery in the state and re-echoed the administration resolve to sustain the current polio free status in the state

Mr  Mohammed while presenting the award to governor congratulated him for his feat, while reiterating the federal government’s resolve towards ensuring the lives of children and mothers are protected from preventable diseases and cases.

Governor Wada, who described the award as a wakeup call for his administration to intensify efforts, also attributed the success to the collective effort of all stake holders in the health sector and residents of the state.

He also thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting the polio challenge globally with their resources while promising not to rest until Kogi state becomes the model for primary health care delivery.