From Beauty John, Lafia
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state has appealed to the Federal Government to further equip the already established Nasarawa State Infection Disease, Diagnosis and Research Centre with the state-of-art facilities in order to meet the global standard and reduce the rate of medical tourism for the diagnosis and treatment of viruses.
The governor made this plea during the North-Central zone Town Hall Meeting
on COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria held in Lafia, the Capital of Nasarawa state, Tuesday.
Engr Sule said the Centre, which serves as a Research hub, crucible for innovations and operational research that provokes policy initiation, also conducts clinical trials for vaccines, drugs and other products, in compliance with ethical standards, as well as support trainings in public health and researches at all levels.
“In addition, it provides scientific guidance for the local production of vaccines, diagnostic kits, sera, anti-sera and other related health products. I am happy to state that the Centre is one of the best diagnostic centre in the country.
The governor, having noted that the global pandemic of COVID-19 has exposed the state of healthcare centres at all levels in the nation, said it motivated his administration to complete the facility to meet the health demands in the state.
“ It is against this backdrop that we have resolved to continue to evolve measures that will strengthen the provision of our healthcare facilities at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. I am happy to state that, part of our commitment in this direction is the completion of the Nasarawa State Infection Disease, Diagnosis and Research Centre.
Engr Sule while welcoming the dignitaries to the Town Hall meeting, said it will be an impetus to the sensitization and mobilization for the people of Nasarawa State to accept to take the vaccine as one of the measures to control the spread of the virus.
“ This endeavour is necessary considering the negative rumour peddling on social media to discourage the vaccination,” the Governor said.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Gida Mustapha in his Keynote address said the federal government is committed to providing all necessary resources at her disposal to ensure Nigerians have access to COVID-19 vaccine.
“Nigeria will continue to access the vaccines which will arrive to cater for over 70% of the population between 2021 and 2022,” he said.
Boss Mustapha, whom lamented the amount of misinformation going round about the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, cautioned against the spread of such news that could create fear in the hearts of the public.
According to him, not only is the country faced with COVID-19 pandemic, but also the pandemic of misinformation, hence the need for the sensitization exercise starting from the North-Central zone to the other five geopolitical zones.
He stated that no adverse effect directly linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been recorded so far. Adding that with the availability of the vaccines, COVID-19 will soon become a thing of the past.
Boss Mustapha enjoined all stakeholders present at the town hall meeting to mobilize their community members to take advantage of the availability of the vaccines and get vaccinated.
Dr Osagie Ehanire , The Hon. Minister of Health said that since the first case was confirmed in Lagos on 27th February 2020, COVID-19 has taken over 2,0060 Nigerian lives and continued to strain the economy.
“Our GDP has fallen by 23% due to the downturn in economic activities, both inside Nigeria and with our international trading partners,” he revealed.
He assured that government will ensure that eligible citizens have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
“Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Health and its Agencies and Departments are working with stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the global supply of WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our mission here today is first to reassure traditional, faith and community leaders, that the vaccines Nigeria uses are tested as safe, and to urge leaders to recommend it to your families and communities as the best protection against the dreaded disease,” he added.