Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has stated his plans to combat any future pandemics. The President stated that the investments which were made in response to the Coronavirus pandemic will help the country to tackle any future pandemics.
Punch reports that the President made this statement during his nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s Independence Day on October 1, 2021.
The President also called on Nigerians not to treat the pandemic as a joke but to take caution and follow social and public health measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic. He noted that it is possible to control the pandemic but it would require everybody to put in effort.
He also pointed out that although there is global inequity regarding access to the vaccines, the Nigerian Government has ensured that Nigerians have access to safe and effective vaccines for free. He noted that Nigeria has administered about 5,000,000 vaccine doses as a result of the efforts by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. He stated that they would continue to explore options to enable them purchase and acquire vaccines.
He however pointed out that the current state of access to the COVID-19 vaccines was unacceptable. He called out some countries for keeping the global vaccine to themselves at the expense of other nations who need the vaccine. He called on people to take action to increase the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines. Should another pandemic arise in the future, Our question is simple; will Nigeria be ready?” He asked.
He also mentioned that he has directed the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Education and Science and Technology to collaborate with Nigerian and International pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to facilitate Nigeria’s domestic pharmaceutical capacity.”
According to President Buhari, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is raising a $200 million fund to complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing N85 billion Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme to support our local researchers in developing vaccines and drugs to fight communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as pandemics such as COVID-19. He also announced that Nigeria has started her journey towards pharmaceutical independence.
“This journey, which will take years to achieve but will ultimately result in Nigerian based companies developing the Active Pharmaceutical substances and competence needed for us to make our own drugs and vaccines,” he said.