The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib has said that any investment in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine, the logistics, delivery and administration processes has the dual benefit of protection against COVID-19 infection and strengthening the country’s primary health care system.
Consequently, the NPHCDA boss has commended the global effort through the COVAX facility to ensure low and medium income countries like Nigeria have fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine stressing that the delay in accessing vaccines means that eligible countries would have to explore all channels that can ensure fair prices, safe and effective vaccines for its populace.
Shuaib who stated this at the weekend in Abuja noted that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire is also engaging the African Union through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is committed to securing the much-needed COVID-19 vaccines, taking into consideration safety, efficacy, cost and required logistics to stop ongoing community transmission of the virus.
Shuaib observed that a holistic approach to health system strengthening, which is driven through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 is based on global standards.
He further explained that the expected engagement of additional healthcare workers to administer the vaccine and ensure non-disruption of routine services, the intensive capacity building and the acquisition of new and additional cold chain equipment will contribute immensely to strengthening the PHC system.
The NPHCDA boss noted that long after the country has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the lessons learnt, the new skills acquired by health workers and the infrastructural improvements would place the country in better stead to manage future pandemics.
He noted that the agency is engaging the traditional and religious leaders in the country so that they talk to their subjects about the Covid-19 vaccination to ensure that the problem of vaccine hesitancy does not arise when the vaccines finally arrive the country.