Our land soaked in blood, gloom, South-East Bishops wail

…Urges sustenance of PSC on COVID-19

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Arising from its recent meeting in Abuja, the National COVID-Summit has called on the Nigerian Government to galvanise other nations to call for debt relief for developing nations so that resources could be channeled towards building the national bio-security and improve access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The summit said the call became necessary considering the impact of COVID-19 on developing economies, which has worsened their debt situation.

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In line with current global practice and recognising the persisting threat of COVID-19, the summit agreed that the coordination structure under the Presidential Steering Committee should be sustained.

It also resolved that government should consider building a structure for the management of national bio-security in view of the global experiences from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In a communiqué issued by the summit, the summit adduced that the current level of engagement with the organised private sector in strengthening the health sector should be encouraged and sustained, adding that the “One Health” Strategy and the requirements under the International Health Regulation should be pursued vigorously.

Other resolutions reached at the summit are: that Nigeria should galvanise the support of African countries in the collaborative process to end COVID-19 pandemic on the continent and build back stronger public health systems; that the collaboration between national and sub-national entities should be strengthened for impact measurement and effective evaluation of the national response and that the capacity and numbers of human resources for health should be improved and strengthened.

The Summit further urged that for improved partnership on Primary health care delivery and vaccination uptake, Government should strengthen the collaboration between the national and sub-national entities and that going forward, the resolutions should be measurable with timelines to track and report on progress on implementation.

The summit with the theme: Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better, was held at the National Intelligence Agency Conference Room, Abuja between December 6th-7th December, 2021.

Participants at the meetings deliberated on priority policy and program issues that would enhance the coordination of the national response.
The overarching goal of the summit was to review the COVID-19 response policy and program implementation from 2020 to date and make actionable recommendations for improved performance, coordination, ownership and sustainability at both the national and sub-national levels.

The Summit recorded over 700 participants attending in-person and virtually, drawn from all stakeholders involved in the national response and the international community. Notable among the participants were: the Senate President, FRN, Distinguished Senators and Members of Health Committees of the National Assembly; Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; serving Deputy Governors representing their Governors; Royal fathers; members of the PSC, Health Committee Chairmen from the 36 State Houses of Assembly, Commissioners in charge of Health matters from the 36 States and FCT, Office of the National Security Adviser, Security Agencies; Paramilitary agencies, Heads of MDAs, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Health and Economic experts, key players in the private sector of Nigeria, the Media, Civil Society Organizations; and Development Partners.

It had the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, CON as the Special Guest of Honour who declared summit open. Key note speakers included Dr. Anthony Fauci, Medical Adviser to the President of the United States of America, Dr. John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC and Professor Oyewale Tomori, a Nigerian Virologist.

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