Nigeria risks another pandemic, says SGF

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Nigeria risks another pandemic if it fails to take advantage of opportunities presented by COVID-19 to develop its health infrastructure, the Federal Government has warned.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha raised the alarm while inaugurating the Board of Experts (BoE) of the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) in Abuja on Monday.

According to him: “If we lose the sense of the moment, we will be confronted with another pandemic and we will find ourselves starting all over again.

“If we had built on the experiences of Ebola and other epidemics that we have dealt with in the past, probably today we wouldn’t have started with about two molecular laboratories for the testing of COVID-19.”

He added: “If you travel the shores of this country, you will find out that we have over 10,000 public primary healthcare centres scattered in wards and villages across the country, ill-equipped, ineffective and not being put into use but we keep building them.”

He appealed to members of the Board of Experts to also look at governance structures in the healthcare sector apart from your primary responsibilities.

COVID-19, the SGF said, “has exposed the weaknesses in our health system, in our governance system, in our security infrastructure, in our inclusiveness and creating social safety nets for our people.”

He cautioned: “It will be the greatest disappointment of our time and of our generation if we do not seize the opportunity of the moment to redress all the deficiencies of the defects that we’ve had in our health and other infrastructure in this country.”

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said: “Currently, 20 projects valued at ₦26.278 Billion have been funded under the ₦100billion credit support intervention for the healthcare industry.”

He stated “some of the firms that have been able to obtain funding include hospitals, research centers and pharmaceutical industries.”

However, the Director, Development Finance of the CBN Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf clarified that the CBN has received over 27 proposals from researchers requesting for ₦67billion grant.

The grant is to enable them develop vaccines, advanced drugs or manufacturing of different types of products that will enable Nigeria solve different kinds of health care challenges.

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