COVID-19 Vaccine: Nigerian Government tackles Bill Gates

COVID-19 Vaccine: Nigerian Government tackles Bill Gates

Contrary to the claims of the co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, Nigerian Government has said that investing in procurement of COVID-19 vaccine would not only help in the fight against the coronavirus, but will also help to strengthen the nation’s primary health care system in the long run.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director,  National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said this on Friday in obvious response to assertion by Gates during an interview session with journalists last Tuesday.

The Bill and Melinda Gates co-founder had told the newsmen that Nigerian government should rather invest the funds it has set aside for procurement of COVID-19 to put the country’s primary health care system on a stronger footing.

“There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system particularly the primary healthcare system will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives. Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID-19 vaccines,” the Micrsoft founder said while responding to question on federal government’s plans to invest about N400 billion in procurement of vaccine.

The Microsoft founder also noted that Nigeria will get free vaccine from the COVAX facility initiative being coordinated by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance set up to ensure equitable access to to the COVID-19 vaccine and as such,  there is no need for the country to raise funds to procure the medical commodity.

But while disagreeing with Gates, Dr  Shuaib said the structure and skills that will be acquired by the country through the administration of COVID-19 vaccine will contribute to the strengthening of the nation’s healthcare system in the long run.

Shuaib, whose agency is in charge of vaccine administration and primary healthcare at the national level in Nigeria,  said this in an interview with News Agency of of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.

He noted for instance that engagement of additional healthcare workers to administer the vaccine would ensure non-disruption of routine services.

The NPHCDA boss also noted that the intensive capacity building and the acquisition of new and additional cold chain equipment will, on the other hand, contribute immensely to strengthening the PHC system.

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