US Govt. To Probe Funding Of Anti-Malaria Initiatives In Nigeria

The US government says it is setting up a framework within Nigeria to help curb the proliferation of fake and adulterated antimalarial drugs.

To this end, the United States government has launched a campaign against the theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial drugs donated by the American government to support the National Malarial Control Program in Nigeria.

The Deputy Inspector General in charge of the American supported Malarial Control Program in Africa in USAID, Jonathan Schofield, on Tuesday, told reporters that the Make A Difference campaign is aimed at arresting those who fake or divert antimalarial products for personal use.

According to him, antimalarial products including treated bed nets and medicines carrying the USAID brand, are meant to be distributed free of charge, as part of the contribution of the American government to eradicate malaria in Nigeria.

To achieve this, the US government is promising to give monetary reward for any useful information that would lead to the arrest of syndicates who hoard or fake the USAID funded malaria products in Nigeria.

Under the MAD campaign, Mr Schofield urged any Nigerian whistle-blower who has information and facts about the diversions to contact the US authorities through the telephone line – 08099937319.

A director at the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Godwin Ntadom, said the quality of medicines used in the treatment of malaria in Nigeria is one of the major issues facing the fight against the disease in the country.

He raised alarm that the increasing availability of counterfeit drugs hampers the international drive to fight malaria.

Mr. Ntadom says the proliferation of such fake drugs have disastrous consequences like treatment failure and even death.

The USAID executive also hinted at a probe of how the funds deployed to different USAID anti-malaria initiatives were expended.

He says such probe will be restricted to US funded projects and would be done in partnership with Nigerian law enforcement officials.

Mr. Schofield said such investigation will look into alleged illicit activities like diversion, kick backs, and embezzlement of funds meant for health programmes.

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