The Federal Government says it will engage law enforcement agencies against parties whose actions or inactions lead to the diversion of anti-malaria drugs (ACT) supplied to Nigeria by Global Fund.
Dr. Evelyln Ngige, the Director Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, disclosed this at the 62nd National Council of Health Meeting on Friday in Asaba.
Ngige said the Global Fund financed the procurement and distribution of 16,290,250 ACTs to health facilities in the 13 states in 2018
“However, only 8,189,226 malaria cases (presumed and confirmed) were reported as treated with ACTs across the 13 states for the same year.
“These numbers highlight an apparent discrepancy between the service and consumption; this is of serious concern not only for the Federal Ministry of Health but also for our donors, the Global Fund.
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“Having implemented the grant thus far and following examination of grant report for 2018; it became clear that not all malaria commodities distributed to health facilities in the states could be accounted for particularly ACT,’’ she said.
She said in some places some of these commodities have been found in private pharmaceutical companies, some were on the street even though they are labeled `not for sale’.
“We don’t know how these commodities that were officially delivered to the states are found on private vendors and Global Fund is aware of it; this put Nigeria in a very bad light,’’ she said.
Ngige said taxpayers in those countries contributed to help Nigeria “yet we are selling commodities that are for people who cannot afford ‘’ so that we can reduce out of pocket expenses towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
She, therefore, appealed to States to investigate the matter further so as to identify the parties whose action or inaction led to the observed discrepancies between the ACT distributed to health facilities and reported the number of malaria cases treated.
She said strict sanctions should be applied to all found culpable, stressing that accountability systems should be put in place to ensure that the most vulnerable population in states continues to benefit from the support from the Global Fund.
The director warned that if much was not done by the state governments, the federal ministry of health would engage law enforcement agents to save the face of the country from further embarrassment.
She added that global fund was very upset over the issues and the organisation was lamenting over the little achievements in the fight against malaria.
The director said the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is an international financing organisation established by the United Nations in 2002.
She added that Global Fund aimed to attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to her, Global Fund has contributed over one billion US dollars to malaria since the inception of its support to Nigeria in 2004.
“Global Fund malaria grant 2018-2020 currently being implemented in Nigeria are focused at supporting 13 States which include Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Taraba, and Yobe, as reported by NAN.
“These states are accounting for 42 per cent of malaria burden in Nigeria,’’ she said.