The Federal Government has signed a €70m grant agreement with the European Union to improve access to effective health care and nutrition in five states and push for polio eradication programmes.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Michael Arrion, Head, EU Delegation to Nigeria, said EU considers support to the health sector in Nigeria a priority.
Arrion has said that the importance of improving maternal and new-born health outcomes and strengthening the health system resilience was emphasized in the partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health.
He has described strengthening health resilience as an important element for drawing up the National Strategy Paper of the 11th European Development Fund jointly signed by European Commission and the federal government.  
According to him, the EDF had earmarked €512m support to Nigeria over a five-year period under which this €70m grant is funded.
He has explained that the EU is working with Nigeria to address developmental challenges in key priority areas under the 11th EDF.
He has urged the stakeholders to jointly resolve to optimize this additional support towards ensuring better health and eventual universal health coverage for all.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said that the grant would be implemented by the ministry, WHO, UNICEF and state ministries of health of the benefiting states, listing the benefitting states as Adamawa, Bauchi, Kebbi, Sokoto and Anambra. “The grant will strengthen 774 PHCs, and it will contribute to the revitalization of the 774 PHCs; promote maternal and newborn health in Adamawa, Kebbi and Bauchi states. “For Anambra and Sokoto states the grant will strengthen healthcare system and contribute to the polio control so that beyond this year Nigeria will be completely free of polio.
Gov. Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, who responded on behalf of the benefiting states, commended the minister for realising the fact that states are the population centres, thereby pushing the projects to states.
He has therefore, requested the beneficiaries to use the grant judiciously and built the internal capacity; days should be gone whereby projects like this were implemented through consultants.
He has expressed concerned that engaging consultants in projects like this will make more resources to go to the consultants than the target groups.

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