By Hassan Zaggi
As the Federal Government is making efforts to get sufficient quantities of the COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens, the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors (GMLD), have, however, insisted that Nigeria has no business depending on other countries for vaccines.
The President of the group, Prince Elochukwu Adibo, stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Ona of Abaji and Chairman, FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Adamu baba Yunusa, in Abaji.
He insisted that with the needed political will, Nigeria has enough man power and human resources to be self-sufficient in vaccine production.
“Nigeria has no business importing vaccines, we can produce any human vaccine in the country, we have the capacity, manpower and human resources to do so. Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria have done it in the past and can still do it today”.
Prince Adibo recalled that medical laboratory scientists in Nigeria produced Small Pox vaccine at the Yaba Vaccine Centre, supervised by World Health Organisation (WHO), some years ago.
The vaccine, he said, was exported to other countries in West African during the peak of the fight against Small Pox in the 60s up to the early 90s.
He regretted that: “Like every other institution of government in Nigeria then, the vaccine centre in Yaba, Lagos was mismanaged which led to its eventual collapsed.”
He further noted that, “baring the present circumstances that we find ourselves with the Corona Virus pandemic, the federal government as a matter of urgency, should resurrect the vaccine centre in Yaba – Lagos, because any nation that depends on foreign vaccines, is toying with the health of its citizens.
“Global politics on vaccine production, availability and accessibility is not favourable to under-developed nations, as developed nations that produce the vaccines have discriminatory and protective tendencies against less privileged countries who cannot afford to produce human vaccines, because they want to make the vaccines available to their citizens before considering other nations”.
The visit, according to Prince Adibo, was to invite the royal father to its forthcoming National Scientific Conference which will take place at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja.
The theme of the conference, he said, is: “Harnessing Awareness of Public Private Mix for the Production of Human Vaccine and in In—Vitro Diagnostics.”
This, he said, is to enable stakeholders find a final solution to producing local human vaccines in Nigeria.
A statement by the media consultant of the GMLD, Jack Lampang Abia (Jnr), quoted that royal father as applaudingmedical laboratory scientists for saving lives silently in the medical laboratories through empirical laboratory diagnosis.
He described the medical laboratory scientists as the cornerstone of health providers and charged them to do more in the areas of research and development.