The federal government is working towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic in the country by 31st December 2022.
The technical lead of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, made the disclosure on Monday during the ministerial briefing on COVID-19 response and development in the health sector.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said that Nigeria is inching closer to manufacturing its own vaccines, having attained the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s global benchmarking prematurity level 3.
Dr Muhammad said the federal government is planning a national COVID-19 Summit from 6th to 8th December 2021 in Abuja.
He said that the glaring potentials for COVID-19 to remain a serious bio-security and socio-economic threat to Nigeria well longer than the earlier projected 31st December 2021, informed the summit.
He said it would enable all critical stakeholders in the health and socio-economic sectors of the country to come together and review the response to the highly disturbing and disruptive pandemic.
“With a view to repositioning the country to end it by 2022 and build back the health system and the economy of our country better,” he said.
He said world leaders had earlier come together on 22nd of September 2021 at a Global COVID-19 Summit convened by President Joe Biden of the United States of America, and resolved to adopt an ambitious agenda to end the COVID-19 pandemic by the year 2022.
He said Nigeria participated in the summit and made commitments to the ambitious “Global Agenda/Movement” to end the COVID-19 pandemic by the year 2022 and build back better.
The PSC technical lead said objectives of the summit include reviewing the country’s COVID-19 response from February 2020 to November 2021 and synthesizing the blueprint for Nigeria’s pandemic recovery, reconstruction, health security, and sustainability, among others.
“Finally, achieving the end of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria by 31st December 2022 (at the eve of his leaving office by May 2023) as a result of this Summit, will become one of the several monumental legacies that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will bequeath to Nigerians and the global community- which posterity will eternally be grateful to him for,” he added.
NAFDAC DG, Prof Adeyeye said without prematurity level three, Nigeria would not be able to manufacture vaccines.
She said the journey towards WHO global benchmarking maturity level 3 started in January 2018 when WHO gave the agency 868 recommendations to meet before being recognized for prematurity level 3.
“As of Oct 15 2021, Nigeria has no other recommendations to meet. Nigeria is closer now to manufacturing her own vaccine,” she said.
She said as part of the laboratory testing requirement, the agency has expanded its drug laboratory in Yaba while the vaccine laboratory is being built in Oshodi, Lagos.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, debunked the wild spread belief that $200 million dollars were allocated by the ministry for procurement of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLIN).
He said that the amount is actually a component of the World Bank assisted multilateral borrowing plan, and involves the African Development Bank and the Islamic bank, adding that the project development was done by the ministries of health and ministry of budget.
He said the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria provided about $400m dollars grants for very high burden malaria states, and the US provided $295 million grants for 11 states.