Germany supports Nigeria’s polio fight, health system with €30.5m

The German Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, has announced 30.5millon euros support to Nigeria to end polio, enhance health security and strengthen the country’s health system.

Mr Spahn made the disclosure during a bilateral dialogue between the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health of Germany on Saturday in Abuja.

He said the parties (Nigeria and Germany) discussed on the eradication of polio where Germany was strongly cooperating with Nigeria to end the disease.

He said the bilateral dialogue has identified five hospitals in Nigeria that would be supported by Germany’s Ministry of Economic Development as a pilot scheme of the train-the-trainer concept towards better healthcare delivery.

He said the collaboration between the two countries would involve fighting against infectious diseases adding that the German and Nigerian centres for disease control are cooperating to strengthen and harness health security.

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He said the funding was about 30million euros in the area of polio eradication while the area of hospitals, agriculture, education, and skills acquisition would receive about 500,000 euros at the moment.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the ministry has received group of visitors from Germany lead by the German Minister of Health, Secretary of State from Germany and German Ambassador to Nigeria.

The minister said the bilateral dialogue was hinged on technical cooperation towards strengthening the Nigerian healthcare system.

He added that dialogue has focused more on public health issues and improvement of Nigeria’s health system where Nigeria needs the cooperation and expertise of Germany to be able to make progress.

Dr Ehanire said Nigeria needs more support from Germany in the areas of patient transportation, e-health, mobile health, enhancing the healthcare system of Nigeria and service delivery.

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The minister noted that the German Government was providing support in health, agriculture, education particularly in vocational education which Nigeria currently need to reduce migration to Europe.

He noted Nigeria has a domestic challenge with maternal mortality which it was trying to address, stressing that government was exploring areas of partnership with Germany and other partners to stem the challenge.

Similarly, the minister lamented over brain drain and migration of Nigeria’s medical doctors to Europe, adding it was an unfortunate incidence because Nigeria spent huge amount of money to train doctors and nurses.

“When we lose them it means we are losing a lot of money to Europe and America,” he said.

The minister said that lack of opportunities was a driving factor for doctors and nurses migration, he, however, emphasised that the government would contain the challenge.

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Dr Ehanire said Nigeria has also requested for medical experts on surgery, Oncology, and other medical sciences from the German delegation who would volunteer to boost service delivery in the country.

“We are expecting this will find a good response.

“Even though many doctors are flying to Europe, we may similarly get experts from Germany coming into the country to help us improve our patient care and service delivery,’’ he said.

Similarly, Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the relationship with German Institutes that were similar to NCDC was a technical collaborative arrangement.

He added that the collaboration allows the two countries to learn from each other and Nigeria would use the technical expertise of Germany to develop its own system for a better outcome.

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