The United States government says it has spent about $21.4 million in assistance to Nigeria over the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said it gave the assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State.
The US Embassy in Abuja, which disclosed this on Thursday, said about four-fifths of the expenditure (about $18 million) were on humanitarian assistance.
The benefiting sectors include those for risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination, and humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and their host communities.
“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,” U.S. Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Our assistance is rolling out gradually as we reconfigure priorities in response to the evolving situation,” the envoy added.
This funding, she explained, 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.
She cited two early examples of USAID assistance to Nigeria as support for the country’s Centre for Disease Control by 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 also gave 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 said 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.
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