It has been two months since the first case of coronavirus was reported in Nigeria. From the onset, the government put measures in place to slow the pandemic, including five-week lockdowns in Lagos and Abuja.
Despite the government working quickly to institute health measures to limit the potentially devastating impact of the pandemic, more support is needed. More than half of Nigeria’s population of 204 million live in extreme poverty, while 70 per cent of the country lacks safe drinking water and sanitation, such as hand-washing facilities.
The spread and impact of COVID-19 requires joint efforts to tackle its effects on health care, food and job security, education, and the economy. To this end, Global Citizen Nigeria has worked with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to establish the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund to provide immediate support in the country’s response to COVID-19.
The fund will play an important part in tackling COVID-19 in Nigeria by helping the government track and treat cases and improving access to healthcare.
“The government of Nigeria is delighted NSIA, together with the world’s leading international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, and their partners, have embarked on a process to set up a new funding vehicle,” said Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Here is everything you need to know about the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund:
What is the Solidarity Support Fund and why is it being launched?
Nigeria’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic requires Nigerian citizens and those in the diaspora to work alongside the government and other partners in the country’s relief efforts. This includes actions like adhering to social distancing and self-isolation, as well as the financial support of international businesses and philanthropists.
How will it work?
The fund will target four core COVID-19 responses, including supporting measures aimed at flattening the curve in Nigeria, as well as recovery. The fund will also support initiatives that support the most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, and strengthen health care systems in various communities across the country. Another aim is to increase universal health access to rural and under-served communities.
And as a result of the pandemic creating both a global health and economic crisis, the Solidarity Support Fund will also address the skills gap required to strengthen Nigeria’s labor market and meet the demands of a changing workforce in the aftermath of COVID-19.
How will access to universal health services be supported?
This will be done by establishing a community-based primary health care centre across each of the 774 Nigerian local government areas. This will enable equitable delivery of affordable, high-quality health care services to communities in remote and low-income areas.
How much is the fund looking to raise?
The fund is looking to raise $50 million (N19.5 billion) to support critical COVID-19 relief efforts in Nigeria. Given the country’s historically under-funded health system, the overall need in Nigeria is expected to be far greater.
The Solidarity Support Fund hopes to raise donations of $13 million (N5 billion) from Nigerians in the country as well as in the diaspora; $20 million (N7.7 billion) from multilateral organisations; $10 million (N3.9 billion) from philanthropists; and a further $10 million from international businesses.
“Global Citizen will mobilise Nigerians, Nigerians in the diaspora, global partners, together with the philanthropic and private sectors in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” said Tunde Folawiyo, chairman at Global Citizen Nigeria.
Why the partnership with NSIA?
The NSIA plays a leading role in driving Nigeria’s sustained economic development through the careful implementation of its three core mandates: commitment to Nigeria, the nation’s people, and its sovereignty.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the nation’s health, social, and economic systems, yet our resolve to work together to contain it remains unflinching,” said Uche Orji, NSIA’s managing director. “We are thrilled to partner with Global Citizen in launching the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund, as the fund manager.”
Who else is supporting the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund?
In addition to Global Citizen Nigeria, NSIA, and Vice President Osinbajo, the fund will be supported by stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Finance Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama.
It’s also supported by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum Aminu Waziri Tambuwa, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria Jens-Peter Kjemprud, philanthropists, and Nigerians in the diaspora.
Why is the fund supporting much more than health initiatives?
COVID-19’s impact goes far beyond the health sector and, as such, the response to the pandemic needs to cut across numerous sectors. To effectively support Nigeria’s response, efforts must be integrated, and must centre the most vulnerable communities to ensure that no one is left behind.
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, vice-chairman at Global Citizen Nigeria, explained: “Our efforts must ensure that we are able to envision and meet the demands that will emerge in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
You can join the movement by taking action here to support the global response to coronavirus, such as calling on European governments to protect and support refugees, and learning more about the virus and how to keep yourself and others healthy.
You can see all of Global Citizen’s COVID-19 coverage here.
. Global Citizens.