By Hassan Zaggi
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has assured 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.
He gave the assurance in a statement signed by the NPHCDA Spokesman, Ohitoto Mohammed, in Abuja, yesterday.
Faisal further noted that the current holistic approach at strengthening Nigeria’s health system which is based on global standard is in line with recent observation and recommendations made by donors and development partners.
“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,” he said.
Faisal expressed optimism that despite the current challenges, “long after the country has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the lessons learnt, the new skills acquired by health workers and the infrastructural improvements would place the country in better stead to manage future pandemics.”
He explained that the expected engagement of additional healthcare workers to administer the vaccine and ensure non-disruption of routine services, the intensive capacity building and the acquisition of new and additional cold chain equipment will contribute immensely to strengthening the PHC system.
According to him, 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 fair prices, safe and effective vaccines for its populace.