May 24, 2024

Brazilian firm coming with $240m plant for Nigeria, 3 others to produce hospital kits – Health Minister

Brazilian firm coming with $240m plant for Nigeria, 3 others to produce hospital kits – Health Minister

Muhammad Ali Pate

…10 m children vaccinated against Tetanus, Diphtheria

Soni Daniel, Abuja

Nigeria’s quest to be draw down more direct foreign investment has received a major boast as a Brazilian company has signified interest to invest at least $240 million in the establishment of a pharmaceutical plant in Nigeria.

Apart from the Brazilian firm, three other foreign pharmaceutical companies are angling to set bring in their funds and set up production plants in Nigeria.

The cherry news was broached by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, at a ministerial briefing to make the first year in office of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Prof Pate explained that while the Brazilian firm would be engaged in generic manufacturing in Nigeria, one is already producing test kits in Lagos, while the remaining two, are on their way to Nigeria.

An excited Pate said, “This marks a significant shift from the past 25 years, where such kits were imported. The policy changes initiated by the President are now fostering domestic production and more are on the horizon”.

The minister state that in the past one year, the minister under his leadership had made significant improvement in key areas of healthcare delivery and was determined to do more in the coming years.

According to him, the at least 1,400 Primary Health Care Centers are now equipped to provide skilled birth attendance, funded through the NPHCDA and the NHIA, covering the 8,300 facilities while more than than 2,400 health workers, including nurses, doctors, and midwives, have been recruited to provide services to Nigerians, many of whom are women in rural areas delivering essential services.

Pate said, “In the area of vaccination, over 5 million Nigerian children have been vaccinated against diphtheria using pentavalent vaccine. More than 10 million Nigerian children received the tetanus and diphtheria vaccines. We are working hard to stop the circulating variant polio viruses showing up in Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States.

“We have delivered measles vaccines to more than 5 million children to protect them against measles, and 4.95 million girls 9-14 years in 15 States have received HPV vaccines to protect them against cervical cancer, representing 80% target, among the highest in the world. Six million more are planned to receive the vaccines in the next phase for 21 states starting from May 27, 2024.

“In terms of hospital equipment and infrastructure, the federal hospitals have successfully executed 201 specific infrastructure projects in the last one year. Additionally, 179 specific pieces of important medical equipment were procured by the federal government and distributed across the six geopolitical zones. In 33 of our federal tertiary hospitals, approximately 4.5 million Nigerians accessed outpatient health services, and 1.6 million had inpatient admissions.

“We are witnessing substantial upgrade in healthcare infrastructure, a testament to the President’s leadership. Plans are underway for the groundbreaking ceremony of 10 healthcare infrastructure projects, through the NSIA, across the six geopolitical zones, including diagnostic centres and oncology centres. These developments are part of a broader initiative involving public-private partnerships.

“Enrolment quotas for medical schools, nursing schools, and other health professional training institutions have increased significantly from 28,000 to 64,000 annually. Now the hard work of getting educational institutions to enhance infrastructure, teaching materials to ensure quality is not eroded by expanding the quantity. This is necessary given the shortage of health workforce.

“We have also approved a managed migration policy for health and are looking at how best to address the excessive workload of medical providers, especially the medical doctors. In the last seven months more than 100 young medical graduates secured residency positions in the US and we issued the certificates of need for them to be trained and return home, and changed the policy to include domestic as well as internationally trained medical graduates. We are working with Ministry of Labor as well as Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission to address long standing legacy issues of compensation,” Pate said.