Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Executive Director, Faisal Shuaib has recently stated that any investment in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine, the logistics, delivery and administration processes has the dual benefit of protection against COVID-19 infection and strengthening the country’s primary health care system.
Explaining how the expected engagement of additional healthcare workers to administer the vaccine as well as non-disruption of routine services, intensive capacity building and the acquisition of new and additional cold chain equipment can effectively strengthen the primary healthcare system, he said:
“This holistic approach to health system strengthening, which is driven through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 is based on global standards and is in line with observations and recommendations recently made by our donors and development partners.“
Any idea or report that this approach does not prioritize strengthening of the health system stems from a lack of complete understanding of the health system and should be disregarded,”
The NPHCDA Director optimistically states that long after the country has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective experience, and new skills acquired by health workers in conjunction with the infrastructural improvements, would place the country in better stead to manage future pandemics.
He added that while the country appreciates the global effort through the COVAX facility to ensure low and medium income countries like Nigeria have fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the delay in accessing vaccines means that eligible countries would have to explore all channels that can ensure fairly prices, safe and effective vaccines for its populace.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TOWARDS COVID-19 VACCINES
The Hon. Minister of Health for Nigeria, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has to this effect, engaged with the African Union
through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to determine and devise means of easier and faster access to the vaccines.
Director Shuaib further assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s commitment to securing the much-needed COVID-19 vaccines, taking into consideration safety, efficacy, cost and required logistics to stop transmission of the virus.
As Nigeria awaits the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in February, the Presidential Task Force has beckoned on State governments to put all the necessary logistics in place to ensure a successful vaccination exercise.
Meanwhile, traditional leaders in Nigeria have pledged their support for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction in the country, continually encouraging the Federal Government to procure adequate quantities of the vaccine.
The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, emphasized the need to disregard rumors about the vaccine and rely only on information from credible sources for decision making. He advised that Nigerians embrace the opportunity to get vaccinated as soon as the option is available to Nigeria.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.