COVID-19 gave Nigeria opportunity to revamp health system – Minister

…WHO supports Nigeria’s PHC revatilisation effort

By Hassan Zaggi

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that even though the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating around the world, Nigeria, however, used the opportunity to work on its health system and upgraded its laboratory assets, treatment centers and Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

He disclosed this at a media engagement organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, in Abuja, Monday.

According to him: “We have also developed a National Health Sector COVID-19 Pandemic Action Plan (NAHCPRAP) which builds on existing COVID-19 pandemic response plans, as the health sector road map to guide this process.

“We shall be pursuing an agenda that puts Health in All Policies as part of our health security architecture.”

Speaking on vaccine for Coronavirus, Ehanire said: “The first set of candidate vaccines are already being rolled out abroad. The Ministry of Health is working with stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria will benefit from high quality vaccines, when they are to be deployed.

“We are part of the COVAX facility, an initiative backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to Low and Lower Middle-income countries like Nigeria.

“A high level team will guide discussions on the subject through FMOH technical working group at NPHCDA, which is the Secretariat for Vaccine Logistics and operations. Details will be made known to the public as they develop. We are also working on various Research options at the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research and the Nigeria Biovaccine Ltd, is on standby to pursue domestic manufacture options.”

Meanwhile, the WHO has vowed to support Nigeria to revitalized the Primary Health Care (PHC) centres.

The WHO Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Kazali Mulombo, who disclosed this at the media engagement said the WHO will continue to work with the health ministry and the talented team in the health sector to leverage the Polio legacy in revitalizing PHC for mothers and children.

“In order to make this work better for the people of Nigeria, we have already commenced key reforms through the Triple Billion Goal of the GPW13 and the CCSIII which are clearly aligned to the NSHDPII to support Nigeria priorities of primary healthcare and health financing as clear accelerators within the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing for All.

“Within our mandate, therefore, the WHO is deploying innovations in implementing unique global and country specific health observatories that bring together big data in all aspects of the health sector to support real-time planning and evidence-based implementation.

“With the priority placed on Nigeria by the WHO, Nigeria has already been designated as one of the 8 collaborative centers in Africa and so will significantly benefit the health sector in preparing for future stock-taking exercises. “

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