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How N1.9bn Ebola Fund was Spent

How N1.9bn Ebola Fund was Spent

Contrary to the perception among the state governments that the N1.9 billion approved by the federal government last August to contain the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) would be distributed among the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it has emerged that the money was used by the Federal Ministry of Health for the procurement of vehicles, isolation tents, secretariat and logistics support, and psychological support, among others, THISDAY has learnt.

However, health ministry sources further revealed that not all the states got the materials supposedly procured for the containment of the Ebola virus.

Shortly after the Liberian national, Patrick Sawyer imported the disease into the country, President Goodluck Jonathan had declared a national emergency for the control and containment of the virus in Nigeria and approved the immediate release of N1.9 billion for the implementation of a Special Intervention Plan.

The Special Intervention Plan included the establishment of additional isolation centres, case management, contact tracking, deployment of additional personnel, screening at borders and procurement of required items and facilities.

However, two weeks after the announcement, controversies arose over the disbursement of the funds when the Lagos State Government cried out that it had been utilising its own resources and had not received a farthing from the federal government.

Shortly after the outcry, the federal government released N200 million to the Lagos State Government, while Rivers State, which battled to contain the Ebola disease when it was imported into the state by an ECOWAS official, also got the same amount.

But a document exclusively obtained by THISDAY, detailing the breakdown of how the N1.9 billion was utilised by the health ministry, showed that areas like research in virology and genomics got very little funds while money was allocated more than once to coordination, logistics and surveillance activities.

The document showed that the lion share – N900 million – was used for the procurement of isolation tents which were supposed to have been distributed to the 36 states and FCT; N315,315,000 was meant for the purchase of vehicles; medical and diagnostic supplies logistics and technologies gulped N182 million; while research for virology/genomics got a measly N30 million.

Other areas to which the funds were allocated included: active surveillance – N29 million; infection control – N11.5 million; planning, coordination and collaboration – N93.5 million; again, coordination – N13 million; outbreak investigation – N25 million; routine surveillance – N10 million; and case management – N30,156,000.

In addition, for the purpose of safe patient transfer, the health ministry set aside N10 million; laboratory surveillance got N5 million; accelerated completion of the Gadua Centre Reference Laboratory in Abuja got N180 million; and the complete upgrade of the eight zonal NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) laboratories got N65 million.

Other areas were logistics support for response (DTA, accommodation, etc) – N15 million; psychological support – N2 million; secretariat and logistics – N3.7 million; and sensitisation and public awareness campaign on EVD – N72,377,500.

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