The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, says the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 will take all the necessary steps to overcome supply challenges.
Shuaib also said the PTF would ensure an efficient roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
He gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja at the PTF national briefing.
“In spite of the difficult task of accessing the COVID-19 vaccines, we are optimistic that the experiences acquired from eradicating polio and controlling ebola will help us in the effective implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program when the vaccines become available.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is involved in discussions with some organizations, including with the African Union Commission, to access COVID-19 vaccines,’’ he said.
Shuaib disclosed that the Covax facility had informed the PTF that it would be supplying the country with approximately 16 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccine this month.
The NPHCDA boss said it was pertinent to note that expenses incurred by the Federal Government on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, and its accompanying administration processes, was in fact an investment toward strengthening the primary healthcare system in Nigeria.
“This is because in the short and long terms, it will afford the nation a more capable and healthy workforce… and also place the country in a better position to seamlessly undertake routine health services and manage potential future pandemics.
Shuaib said that with the awareness campaign being carried out in the mass media by the NPHCDA, credible and respected Nigerians from all walks of life were lending their voices in support of the government’s plan to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine.
“In the past week, we started with the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) and the Muslim Scholars of Nigeria, under the umbrella of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs. Earlier today (Monday), we met with the Christian Association of Nigeria.
“We also had the 2021 first quarter meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on Primary Healthcare Delivery, with the theme ‘COVID-19 Vaccination’.
“The meeting was presided over by His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, where he gave the assurance that religious and traditional leaders will continue to support the government’s effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Sultan further urged people to desist from circulating rumors and misconceptions, but rather be open-minded to gain accurate knowledge about the vaccine,’’ said the NPHCDA boss.
Recall that the COVID-19 Technical Working Group (TWG), made up of experts from the PTF, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), NPHCDA, and development partners, has been working daily to monitor the level of preparedness toward a successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.