December 24, 2020

FG, PharmAccess, HFN move to place Nigerians on better position to access COVID-19 vaccines

malaria vaccine

As NPHCDA targets 70% vaccination of population by 2022

Stakeholders call on FG for synergy, partnership

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Federal Government, PharmAccess Nigeria, and Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, HFN, yesterday, moved plan and place Nigerians on better position to access COVID-19 vaccines as second wave of the pandemic sweeps across the country with restrictions placed by some state governments to contain the spike.

This move was as a result of a meeting on webinar with theme, ‘Status of Covid-19 Vaccines in Nigeria: Available Options and Opportunities for Public Private Partnerships’ organised byHFN with stakeholders in the healthcare sector in attendance to discuss plans for Covid-19 vaccination in Nigeria and role of public private partnerships and participation.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, explained what the Federal Government is doing and its plan and strategy as it concerns mass vaccination of Nigerians.

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Mamora made it clear that there are factors government is seriously considering He which includes availability, accessibility, affordability as well as acceptability of the vaccine by Nigerians.

He said: “We are examining the procedure for administration and accountability and joined the COVAX facility to put Nigeria in a good position to access the vaccines in an equitable manner.

“The agency that has been at the forefront of this planning is the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA.

“Our projection is that by 2021, 20 per cent of the vaccine needs of the country would have been covered by the COVAX facility, while the Federal Government will cover another 20 per cent with the operational cost.”

However, the Minister disclosed that Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health is closely reviewing the efficacy of the vaccines now available including the cost in order to ensure it is safe for Nigerians.

“We are reviewing the efficacy of the vaccines to ensure safety for our citizens and currently exploring the options of acquiring these vaccines through bilateral and multilateral engagement.

“For example, we are engaging the World Health Organization, WHO, and the West African Health Organization, WAHO, in order to join countries towards large procurement at reduced prices.

“There are a lot of cost factors, one of which is the storage cold-chain issue of some of the vaccines. Some of the vaccines must be stored in such cold temperatures that may not be possible cost wise. I

“If we are looking at the vaccines that we will need to store at minus 70° then it may not be feasible cost-wise. So, we will be looking at the other vaccines that require temperature of minus 20° as opposed to the one that requires minus 70°”, he stated.

Meanwhile, Director of Research, PharmAccess Group, and keynote speaker, Prof Tobias Rink De Wit, while speaking gave an in-depth explanation on what and how the Covid-19 vaccines look on a global perspective and better understanding.

Wit also spoke extensively on a detailed manner about the new Covid-19 mutant for people to get a clearer understanding of it, which he further spoke on different vaccine developments ongoing and stages of approval or administration, peculiarities of each vaccine and its costs, as well as best options for Nigeria.

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Meanwhile, according to the moderator of the webinar, Vice President of Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, HFN, Njide Ndili, in her opening remark pointed that there is need for the Federal Government to engage and partner with the private sector and the importance of Public Private Partnerships, PPPs, towards containing the Covid-19 virus as the government is worried about the current wave of the pandemic.

Another speaker, Director Disease Control and Immunization, NPHCDA, Dr Bassey Okposen, in a brief remarks made it known that the agency is planning to immunize 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population by 2022 as it, prioritizes vaccination of frontline health workers and vulnerable population.

Okposen also appreciated and expressed readiness to collaborate with stakeholder in the private sector in order to achieve the 70 per cent target by 2022.

Also a representative of Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria, HMCAN, Dr Leke Oshunniyi, highlighted some areas on better partnership platform that would facilitate the private sector’s collaboration with the Federal Government on optimal performance in achieving the stated objectives.

Oshunniyi called on government to include private sector representation in the Technical Working Group for the Covid-19 vaccine planning committee.

Also speaking, the President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi, said: “Today we are talking about vaccination particularly because there is an ongoing second wave of the virus in the country.

“We have people who are worried and need information. Apart from the conspiracy theories, people are concerned by the speed with which the vaccine was produced when compared to other vaccines, these are the reasons for the deliberations.”

HFN is a coalition of Nigerian private healthcare sector stakeholders. A non-partisan and non-profit organization that advocates for policy reforms that supports the growth and development of the health sector.

Vanguard News Nigeria