Nigeria: Regional Solidarity Fund for Ebola falls short

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The US$15 million ECOWAS Regional Solidarity Fund (RSF), created in July 2014 to meet the demands of the three West African states worst hit by Ebola, has recorded contributions totaling only US$4.5 million, according to the Director-General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), Dr. Xavier Crespin.

In a memo he sent to ECOWAS leaders on the regional response to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has so far claimed 5,000 lives from over 10,000 cases, Dr. Crespin listed the contributing nations so far as Nigeria (US$3.5 million) and Cote d'Ivoire (US$1 million).

He said the funds were disbursed as follows: US$1,000,000 to Guinea;  US$1,000,000 to the ECOWAS Commission including US$ 500,000 released to WAHO to support some countries (Senegal, Mali, Niger, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau); US$500,000 to Liberia; US$500, 000 to Sierra Leone, and  US$1,500,000 to WAHO for organisation of the extraordinary meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers (AHM) held in Monrovia on 11-12 April 2014; Meetings of the Ministerial Technical and Coordination Group an direct support to countries.

According to the WAHO boss, the disbursed funds enabled ECOWAS to conduct several activities in favour of the three countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and their neighbours in the areas of training, communication, management, and epidemiological surveillance with a view to a more appropriate response to the epidemic.

Based on the needs assessment then estimated at US£ 15 million, the RSF was launched in July, in accordance with the declaration by the Ministers of Health at the 15thsession of their Assembly held in Monrovia, Liberia in April 2014.

Following the launch, an appeal to member states to contribute to the Fund was also embarked upon, but only two states - Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire - have so far responded by making contributions.

PANA reports that the Summit of Heads of State and Governments also launched an appeal to the international community for contributions towards the Solidarity Fund.

ECOWAS leaders are due to meet at an extra-ordinary summit in Accra, Ghana, 6-7 Nov. 2014 to review the regional response to the EVD outbreak and also discuss the political development in Burkina Faso.

According to the ECOWAS Commission, the summit will be preceded by the Ministerial Coordinating Group session on Ebola, the outcome of which will feed into the agenda of the regional leaders’ meeting.

Since the Ebola outbreak last March, ECOWAS, in collaboration with the international community, has deployed wide-ranging response initiatives and interventions including the establishment of the RSF and development of a Regional Action Plan, with emphasis on a coordinated approach for proactive community mobilisation and participation.
-0- PANA SEG 5Nov2014

05 november 2014 15:29:43




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