As nations run short of COVID-19 vaccine supply, the Federal government has assured that it is taking advantage of the lessons learnt from the pandemic to build up capacity for vaccine manufacturing.
The Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, disclosed this at a virtual conference organised by The Conversation Africa in partnership with PUNCH Media Foundation.
According to him, West African country has learnt sufficiently from the Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks and developed as well as equipped its health system and emergency to respond to next pandemic.
“You will agree with me that we must do better in health security and the Federal Government of Nigeria has begun to work on this through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, where the NCDC is expected to be provided with 2 percent of 5 percent of the funds earmarked for health emergencies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in several ways; it has affected lives, the economy of our country, travel and social interactions. These have required a complete redirection of our public health resources to fight one disease.
“While building during the pandemic has led to several milestones, there is no doubt that the world could have been a better prepared place if we invested more in pandemic preparedness.
“Our preparedness for the next pandemic not only starts now but it is already in progress.
“Investing on preparedness is not just a wise choice, it is good thinking. We are learning from COVID-19 pandemic to build back better. The pandemic is not over yet but we will continue to learn lessons.”
According to him, the pandemic has created a sense of urgency around vaccine development and manufacturing in the African region, as the World Health Organisation estimates that nations face a pandemic threat every five years.
He said, “In Nigeria, we are taking advantage of this opportunity to fully establish our capacity for vaccine manufacturing. We have been working closely with Bio Vaccines Nigeria Limited, a joint venture between the Federal Government of Nigeria and May and Baker Plc.
“We are seizing this opportunity, this moment of destruction to build sustainable and resilient systems for health security in Nigeria.”
Speaking further, the Minister noted that the government was not as prepared as expected, as available resources were based on previous investments in health security by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.