Isaac Adewole, minister of health, speaks on Nigerian governments plan to curb the incidence of malaria and HIV in the country at the launching of Chevron’s Global Fund contribution for HIV in Nigeria in Lagos, last Saturday. Excerpts
Realnews: Chevron Corporation just donated $2.5 million to fight HIV and malaria in Nigeria, how do you react to this gesture?
Adewole: I think you are trying to under-present the announcement or the disbursement. What Chevron has done is to make a major announcement that involves seeding out $5 million to Global Fund as a direct support to Nigeria in the fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria. In two years, $2.5 million per year but that is actually the tip of the iceberg because Chevron has been involved in the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria for a long time. And they are also supporting prevention of mother-to-child transmission to a level of $6.7 million, which to me represents major investment in this battle.
To us, it is a worthy investment and it signifies a major investment and also a fulfillment of the call that the private sector must partner with government. Government cannot do it alone and we are quite happy about this.
Realnews: Why is Chevron disbursing this amount of money to Nigeria?
Adewole: I think Chevron is only trying to protect itself. When their workers are healthy then they will be able to produce more oil and Chevron can make more profit. But to me it is also a statement reflecting the trust of Chevron in the Nigerian sector and the Nigerian people.
Realnews: What is your advise to other corporate entities in Nigeria?
Adewole: We want them to emulate Chevron. The country belongs to all of us and there can be no greater investment in any country than investing in the people.
Realnews: December 1, is World AIDS Day. What is your assessment of Nigeria’s fight against HIV?
Adewole: We have done excellently well. We have put one million people on treatment and we are committed to implementing the Global Fund agenda. We are also planning to implement a major survey described as the largest population based study in the world where we will cover major parts of the country in order to really determine how many people truly have HIV in Nigeria.
Realnews: Federal government has appointed new director general of NAFDAC, what are your expectations from her?
Adewole: My expectation is that she will key into Mr President’s health agenda, contribute to making the people safe; keeping fake and substandard drugs out of Nigeria and also support small businesses to establish in order to grow the economy.
Realnews: How far have we gone in containing the spread of monkeybox?
Adewole: Containing the spread of monkeypox is a public health agenda and we are happy that new cases are declining. We are also happy to inform Nigerians that up till now nobody has died from monkeybox apart from that single person who committed suicide in Bayelsa State. The outbreak we have in Nigeria is a mild one, is self-limiting and people are getting well.
Realnews: How much has the government invested in the health sector so far?
Adewole: It is huge investment and it is not something I can tell you off cuff except I go through the health account. But it is a huge investment running into billions of Naira every year. In 2017 alone, Nigeria was spending not less than N6 billion directly not to talk of salaries of people working in this sector and investment in facilities. So is a huge investment.
– Nov 17, 2017 @ 19:44 GMT |