$1.5 Billion COVID-19 Delivery Scheme Halted, Leaving Thousands of Health Workers Unpaid

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Over 22,000 health workers, including Nigerians, have been left stranded after a $1.5 billion COVID-19 delivery scheme, backed by the Mastercard Foundation and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, abruptly halted due to allegations of misappropriation. Donors are investigating cases of unbudgeted roles, workers paid without verification of completed work, and missing contracts and receipts. Some workers in Nigeria have not been paid for four to six months of their work, leading to significant financial hardships for them.

Key Points:

  • The $1.5 billion COVID-19 delivery scheme, supported by the Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC, has come to an abrupt halt amid allegations of misappropriation.
  • Donors are investigating cases of unbudgeted roles, workers paid without verification of completed work, and missing contracts and receipts.
  • More than 22,000 health workers, including Nigerians, have been left stranded, with some not receiving payment for four to six months of work.
  • The program, known as Saving Lives and Livelihoods (SLL), was the largest public health partnership between a global philanthropic organization and an African institution.
  • The halt in funding has been attributed to ongoing audits and allegations of improper procedures, including a lack of employment letters, signed attendance records, and worker identity verification.
  • The Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC have declined to comment on the situation in Nigeria.
  • The internal draft report circulated in July flagged expenses unsupported by documentation, salaries paid for unbudgeted roles, and discrepancies in reported vaccine doses.

Analysis: The halt of the $1.5 billion COVID-19 delivery scheme has left thousands of health workers, including Nigerians, unpaid for months. The allegations of misappropriation and the need for investigations have created significant challenges for both the health workers and the program itself. The situation highlights the importance of proper financial management and accountability in large-scale public health initiatives. The outcome of the investigations will be crucial in determining the future of the program and ensuring that funds are allocated and utilized appropriately.

BD

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