Nigeria may be listed soon as one of the league of countries with breakthroughs in the development of candidate vaccines for tackling COVID-19 pandemic disease.
This was disclosed by the Director General of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Professor Babatunde Lawal Salako, at the Ministerial Health Sector Media Engagement in Abuja on yesterday. He added that the institute is making progress with the research into COVID-19 vaccine and would in the next few months be able to come up with a candidate vaccine.
However, he noted that producing a candidate vaccine does not automatically lead to the invention of a vaccine, adding that only a few got to clinical stages out of the many candidate vaccines that have so far been developed.
“What I will say is that we will come up with a candidate vaccine that will be subjected to tests but we cannot say for sure if it will pass through other stages,” he said.
At the event, federal government announced that its efforts at improving Primary Health Care (PHC) system across the country would save the lives of 3.7 million infants in the next 10 years.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaibu, said the federal government hoped to drastically reduce maternal and child deaths through the ongoing efforts to revamp healthcare facilities in the country.
Shuaibu added that apart from seeking to attain the lofty goals of universal health coverage, the improvement in healthcare delivery system would avert 2.05 million under five deaths and an additional 1.03 million neonatal in the next 10 years.
“This represents a significant leap from the projected 69,819 lives saved if things remain the same,” he said.
He expressed the hope that with a mega scale-up of primary healthcare coverage, a total of 110,540 additional women could be saved over the course of 10 years to reflect the improvements in health systems delivery, which is projected at 92 per cent
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, while launching the revised implementation guidelines for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) at the event, stated that the sector is currently undergoing some progressive transformation through the implementation of new health sector agenda approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Ehanire, the health sector is currently funded with resources from two streams.
The first being the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), which is one per cent of Consolidated Revenue Fund for healthcare to Nigerians as enshrined in the 2014 National Health Act.
The minister said the second source of health financing is from the National Health Insurance Scheme, which is awaiting the law that would make health insurance mandatory for all residents of Nigeria.
He further added that the BHCPF operates through three gateways, namely the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the National Health Insurance Scheme and the National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee.
The Minister, also said that the target of the health sector’s Next Level Agenda of the Buhari-led administration is to reduce by 60 per cent health-related gaps in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the implementation of the expanded PHC service, mandatory health insurance and operationalisation of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System.