United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will spend $787 million in development and humanitarian assistance in Nigeria in 2021 to commemorate 60 years of development assistance to Nigeria which started in November 1961.
A statement issued yesterday by the agency said that since its founding by President John F. Kennedy six decades ago USAID has built its reputation as the world’s premier international development organization by partnering with more than 100 countries to strengthen communities and improve lives.
Nigeria was among the first countries in the world to receive development assistance under the Agency in 1961. President Kennedy envisioned the agency for the US as the world’s leader in providing a helping hand to countries struggling to develop.
USAID Mission Director Anne Patterson said, “I am proud to represent USAID in Nigeria, a country with tremendous potential to be a leader in West Africa if it can overcome its many challenges.”
In Nigeria and around the world, USAID partners with some of the world’s top development agencies, the United Nations, local nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and host country governments to help save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen governance, and improve health, education, and economic prosperity, the statement said.
Perhaps its biggest ongoing success in Nigeria has been its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has wrought the country since the 1980s.
USAID has given this assistance through funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Walter Reed Army Research Institute, culminating in a 2019-2020 “surge” that greatly reduced a rising trend in vulnerable areas, especially in combination with the ongoing tuberculosis and new COVID-19 pandemics.
The USAID supports testing for 2.4 million Nigerians a year, and provides free life-saving antiretroviral therapy for 89 percent of the nearly 400,000 individuals who have tested positive.
Another 62 million Nigerian mothers and children benefited from USAID health programs last year through training of public health workers, increasing access to quality medicines, and improving leadership in the health sector with a focus on primary health care.
USAID support has protected 68 million Nigerians from malaria by donations of mosquito nets through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which has contributed to a drop in child deaths by 16 percent over 10 years and helped reduce malaria prevalence from 42 percent to 23 percent.