Some stakeholders in the health secto, have called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts on local vaccines production in country.
They said this on Monday, February 14, 2022, in Abuja at a two-day Strategic Advocacy Retreat on COVID-19 and Health Security in the country.
The retreat was organised by the Africa Health Budget Network in collaboration with National Advocates for Health, Nigerian Cancer Society and relevant advocacy civil society.
The Board Chairman, BIOVACCINE Nigeria Limited (BVNL), Prof. Oyewale Tomori, said it was every Nigerian’s business that the country develop its own solutions to build its own vaccination manufacturing even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tomori, who is also a professor of virology, noted that the challenges of accessing sufficient COVID-19 vaccine supplies were a wake-up call for Nigeria to scale up local vaccine production for the long term.
He noted that the communique from the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) summit was only a beginning, advocacy to ensure implementation was key and Nigerians must all contribute to advocating to all sectors to achieve implementation.
Muhammad Usman, the Chairman, National Advocates for Health, said Nigeria should ensure to secure vaccines for a range of diseases.
He added that the country should require sustained commitment from federal government, state governments, relevant agencies coordination and consistent financing on research and development.
Usman stressed that the sum of N10 billion for the production of vaccines given by the Federal Government was not going to be enough.
“The N10 billion was allocated in 2020, what happened to 2021 and 2022, N10 billion would not do anything to more than 206 million Nigerians.
“Vaccines are among the most cost-effective health interventions against pathogens and other infectious diseases, saving millions of lives annually while improving quality of life for countless others,” he explained.
He noted that from a manufacturing perspective, many factors were critical to accelerating vaccine production and meeting performance goals.
“These include predictable scale-up, optimal upstream productivity, robust impurity removal, maximised downstream recovery, speed to clinic, patient safety, and regulatory compliance,” he explained.
The Director-General, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr Obi Adigwe, said that the need for robust health communication strategy could not be overemphasised in the health sector of the country.
Adigwe noted there was need for policy makers to understand and know what was right through the evidence brought forward.
He stressed that there was also need for the sector to understand the amount of resistance to be faced in implementing these interventions.
Meanwhile, Yobe State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Muhammad Gana, advised on the fragment of the health system in the country.
Gana said that it should be an holistic system and suggested a think tank – people who would help simplify the communiqué by the PSC.
Earlier, the Coordinator, AHBN, Dr Aminu Magashi, said that the advocacy retreat was to brainstorm on advocacy priorities needed to strengthen accountability and response at national and sub-national levels for COVID-19 and Health Security.
Magashi noted that the lack of and/or inadequate strong and concerted advocacy had been identified as one of the key missing gaps in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic during the National COVID-19 Summit convened in December 2021.
“During this two-day retreat, participants will review key recommendations from many of the papers presented at The National COVID-19 Summit.
”They will also brainstorm on advocacy priorities needed to address some of the gaps at national and sub-national levels to galvanise actions in the areas of accountability strengthening, equitable recovery and building back better.
“Others are sustainable financing to address COVID-19 and health security, ramping up vaccination, testing and treatment, local vaccine production, border health/security to mention but few,” he explained.
By Abujah Racheal