From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday disclosed that it has so far financed 82 projects under its Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS). The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made the disclosure in Abuja at the award of grants for new beneficiaries under HSRDIS.
According to him, the scheme was introduced with the release of the implementation guidelines and subsequent inauguration of the Scheme’s Body of Experts (BoE) in July 2020, as part of the CBN’s policy response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and aims at promoting intense research and development (R&D) activities towards developing vaccines and drugs against the spread of other communicable and non-communicable diseases.
He revealed that the BoE received 286 proposals from the public for review and evaluation. He added that 68 of them have been evaluated, out of which five proposals with significant merits valued at N253.54 million were recommended by the experts for financing. “Some of the recommended proposals also have the potential to enable the development of the Nigerian vaccine for COVID-19. It is as a result of the remarkable work by the committee that today’s grant award ceremony is taking place.
“I would like to congratulate the recipients of the award for their efforts in working to develop solutions to some of our healthcare challenges and I am also pleased that most of our recipients are from the academia, a sector that had lacked funding for research. “The review of proposals is still ongoing, and we expect the committee to provide recommendations for additional award of grants in due course”, Emefiele added.
He assured that the apex bank would keep supporting the nation’s economic growth by helping to build a strong and healthy workforce. “Meeting our need for a strong and healthy workforce with better safety profiles is a task that can only be addressed through a healthcare sector that provides for significant investments in Research and Development. “A vibrant and innovative health care system is also vital for our national security; we all witnessed how a number of countries and territories adopted stringent and immediate export restrictions on critical medical supplies and drugs that were specifically meant to help countries respond to the spread of the virus.