Malaria accounts for 30 percent of childhood deaths in Nigeria. It is one of the highest figures in Africa. Yet despite efforts to tackle the disease, huge challenges remain.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, has agreed to help lead the Global Fund’s efforts to raise funds to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria all over the world.
President Jonathan met with Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, on Monday to discuss joint efforts to control these deadly diseases in Nigeria and globally.
Dybul praised Jonathan’s effective leadership and personal commitment to expanding health services, embodied by Nigeria’s “Save One Million Lives” initiative that is aiming to dramatically increase access to basic quality health services, particularly for women and children.
Jonathan accepted an invitation to co-chair in this year’s replenishment efforts by the Global Fund. Other co-chairs include U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and heads of states from developed countries, emerging economies and the private sector.
“Working together, we can make tremendous gains,” said Dybul. “With the existing science, our understanding of the epidemiology and our collective experience in combating the diseases, we now have an opportunity to control them. If we do not, the long-term costs will be incalculable.”
During his first visit to Nigeria, Dybul also met with the Minister of Health Chukwu Onyebuchi, Minister of State for Health Dr. Muhammad Pate, and other key stakeholders, partners and implementers to discuss opportunities to further strengthen collaboration.
Aig-Imoukhuede, chairman of Friends Africa, said: “The upcoming replenishment of the Global Fund ought to be given the highest levels of support for the fight against these diseases to be won.”