Health

Japan Offers Nigeria $9.4 million Grant For Medical Equipment

Japan has awarded Nigeria a grant of $9.4 million (1 billion Yen) as medical aid to acquire equipment for the country’s health sector.

The declaration was made in Abuja at the signing and exchange of notes between the Minister of State for Budget, Clem Agba and Kikuta Yutaka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, according to a series of tweets on the Twitter handle of the Nigerian government, @NigeriaGov on Thursday.

The Nigerian government stated the grant would boost the country’s health sector in the face of the coronavirus pandemic through the acquisition of equipment consisting of CT scanners and ambulances.

Health institutions in the country are finding medical support from external sources to bolster local capacity and ramp up the capacity to respond to the new coronavirus pandemic. The World-Bank approved a $114 million assistance package for Nigeria’s healthcare sector in August. Nigeria will receive $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA) and a $14 million grant via the Pandemic Emergency Facility of the World Bank.

Also Read: Experts Deliberate on Nigeria’s Post-Pandemic Economic Outlook

The IDA is a member of the World Bank group which grants the world’s poorest countries loans at lower interest rates than the World Bank. Countries are usually phased out from its assistance programmes as they grow richer. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy is home to the highest number of people living in extreme poverty in the world and has a per capita income of $2,230 (2019), compared $6,001 for South Africa, the continent’s second biggest economy. Nigeria has only 0.9 hospital beds for every 1,000 Nigerians, an indication of the low investment in healthcare. South African has 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 citizens. It was recently reported that women in a community in Jigawa State had to contribute N1,000 each to buy an old second hand salon car to serve them as ambulance during health emergencies.

It is not clear which of the hospitals under the Federal Ministry of Health will receive the equipment acquired through Japanese assistance. It is worth noting that scanners at relatively well-resourced University Teaching Hospitals of Nigeria’s federal universities often break down and are not fixed for months while the authorities await approval for paperwork and funds from Abuja.

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