Nigeria: CBN willing to bankroll Nigerian scientists to develop local coronavirus vaccine-Emefiele
London, May 13, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele says the apex bank is willing to do all it takes to finance scientists to do all they could to develop a Nigerian vaccine to curb the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Emefiele said this in Abuja at the handover ceremony of THISDAY Dome as temporary treatment and isolation centre to the Ministry of Health and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT).
The CBN boss said “once validated by the health authorities, CBN will step in and provide grants to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop the Nigerian Vaccine”
He warned that: “needless to state that if we are to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, we will be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for our teeming population”.
Aside the immediate covid-19 vaccine grant, the CBN is equally developing a long term framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided for scientists
“Furthermore, in order to encourage greater research and development in Nigeria of drugs and vaccines that would help prevent the spread of the virus, the CBN is developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided. The Central Bank of Nigeria today challenges Nigerian scientists at home and in the Diaspora to go back to their laboratories and develop a Nigerian vaccine“
He commended the Nigerian private sector, which has come together under the Coalition against coronavirus. (CA -COVID) to support the government, by raising funds to procure needed isolation centres and medical equipment.
Emefiele said so far, the CA-COVlD-19 has raised up to N27 Billion to fund these initiatives. These donations are being used to build well equipped isolation centres across the 36 states of the federation.
He said the THISDAY Dome Testing, Tracing and Treatment Centre being launched, represents a part of the support being provided by the CA COVID alliance, adding that these measures will result in the addition of close to 4,000 hospital beds across the country and will serve as a significant boost towards efforts at containing the spread of COVlD-19.
Emefiele said CA-COVID has equipped and handed over Isolation Centres in Rivers, Enugu, Kwara, Undo, and Borno States.
He said it is expected that all other Isolation Centres will be handed over in other States of the country by May 23, 2020.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that the country is prepared for the worst on the issue of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Ehanire said though the Nigeria is striving to curb the pandemic from getting out of control.
The Minister explained that, “we are able to learn a lot of things from the Chinese Doctors. We are happy that this treatment and isolation center is in place now. We are pleased that this is a good example of what the private sector can do in supporting event of this nature of the COVID-19 outbreak that is affecting everybody both the rich and poor.
“This is a situation that calls for all hands to be on deck. We are not yet desperate but we are happy to have it here. Our policy has always been to strive for the best and prepare for the worst. We are striving to have the best outcomes. This facility here is serving that purpose of preparing for the worst. We are grateful that it is an addition to what we have on ground.
“Community transmission that necessitates urgent response is already with us. It this realization, on the side of Nigeria’s private sector, who took it upon themselves to rise to the occasion that brings me at this juncture to mention and appreciate the contributions of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (known now as CA-COVID) and in connection with the event of today, the Sahara Energy Group and THISDAY Media & Technology Group for the donation of this THISDAY Dome Temporary Treatment & Isolation Centre. The Centre has not just added to the number of available bed spaces, but saved the Nigerian health sector the anxiety of looming shortages.
“It comes with the following: Sahara Foundation Wards and ICU Centre complete with Ventilators, X- Ray and Dialysis; THISDAY 54gene Testing Mobile Lab complete with reagents – with scalable 200 – 1000 tests per day; THISDAY 98 – Room Hotel & Conference Centre next door for medical staff for 6 months; CBN Medical Grant in direct support to FMoH and FCDA for day to day management of the Isolation Centre and and industrial grade medical incinerator”.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha said that the COVID-19 pandemic has totally overwhelmed even the best of health systems in the world and that serves all developing nations a powerful notice to wake up.
Mustapha said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a reawakening to both Government and the Private Sector to collaborate in the injection of a much-needed investment into our health care system.
“COVID-19 has totally overwhelmed even the best of health systems in the world and that serves all developing nations a powerful notice to wake up.
“Today, we are witnessing the realization of the synergy with the commissioning of this facility, which is designed to accommodate 300 beds and is scalable to 500. The speed and commitment demonstrated by the partners that developed this infrastructure is a call to other private sector entities to also get involved in the development of public interest facilities.
“The PTF advocates strongly that lessons to be drawn from COVID-19 should therefore revolve around development, future planning, consensus building, collaboration and partnerships. Government cannot always do it alone. We must all be involved”, he emphasized.
The facility, he said also has an intensive care unit for the treatment of the most severe cases of COVID -19.
This, The SGF said would go a long way in providing care for the growing number of cases especially for levels 1 & 2 categories.
“I am also happy to note that this is one of the facilities into which care for persons living with disabilities that might get infected, has been incorporated. Ladies and gentlemen, as we continue to develop health infrastructure, the PTF also wishes to underscore its total commitment to research into a cure for the COVID-19 disease”, said Mustapha.
He said government is actively encouraging all institutes and researchers to step forward for a validation of their inventions, discoveries, that can help humanity bring the pandemic to a quick end.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello disclosed that with the facility the FCT has almost reached the target of 1, 000 bed spaces