With Nigeria battling to keep the COVID-19 at bay, the United States government says it has spent about $21.4 million in assistance to Nigeria over the pandemic.
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The US said that it gave the assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Department of State.
The US Embassy in Abuja, disclosed this on Thursday, saying that about four-fifths of the expenditure was on humanitarian assistance.
It said that benefiting sectors include those for risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination, and humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons and their host communities.
U.S. Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard, said in a statement on Thursday:
The U.S. government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic even while we battle the virus at home.
Our assistance is rolling out gradually as we reconfigure priorities in response to the evolving situation.
She explained that the funding would support critical activities to control the spread of the disease, such as rapid public-health information campaigns, water and sanitation, and preventing and controlling infections in health-care facilities.
According to her, two early examples of USAID assistance to Nigeria as support for the country’s Centre for Disease Control was sending a million SMS messages a day to Nigerians and going door-to-door in the Northeast to prevent outbreaks in the country’s most vulnerable region.
Ms Leonard said apart from these areas, the Embassy has also given more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than $5.2 billion in U.S. health assistance alone.
She noted that the United States is proud to be leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of this comprehensive response from the American people, the U.S. Department of State and USAID have now committed nearly $508 million in emergency health, humanitarian, and economic assistance on top of the funding we already provide to multilateral and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) helping communities around the world deal with the pandemic,” she said.