– As NAPharm/NGE Media Week Ends
The Founder/CEO, JNC International Limited, Pharm.(Mrs) Clare Omatseye, says for Nigeria with 99 percent imported vaccines consumption to overcome the current scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines, it is imperative for the Federal Government to holistically partner private sector investors and practitioners across critical areas like funding, technical know-how, logistics and others.
Omatseye made the remark while delivering her keynote address at the just concluded NAPharm/NGE Media Week on COVID-19 pandemic. She decried suspension of COVID-19 vaccination in the country due to the temporary ban on exports of AstraZeneca vaccine, saying Nigeria shouldn’t have waited until this time to innovate way forward on vaccine production.
The erstwhile President of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, who highlighted notable areas of private sector participation in the management COVID-19, said Private Public Partnerships (PPP) provides an effective solution to improve the provision of basic healthcare services and the quality of existing health systems to support the fight against the pandemic.
According to her, the private sector’s contribution to COVID-19 management vis-a-vis public’s role in some identified areas can be summed as follows: “Laboratory testing centres: public -62 percent, private- 32 percent; samples tested: public – 50 percent, private- 50 percent; isolation centres bed capacity, public- 44 percent, private- 56 percent”.
The JNCI boss maintained that with these figures and others showing the degree of private sector’s involvement in the management of the pandemic so far in the country, then the government shouldn’t hesitate any longer in allowing private stakeholders complement its efforts towards local vaccine production.
Earlier in the programme, the Chairman of the last day of the week-long event, Mr Tony Akiotu, GMD DAAR Communications had stressed the reality of COVID-19, saying he fell ill of the infection in May 2020 and was hospitalized at the Isolation centre, though he was fortunate to survive it, but lost many of his close associates to the disease.
He therefore urged everyone to adhere strictly to safety protocols in preventing a surge in cases, which had hitherto reduced drastically in the past few weeks.
In his contribution, Dr Sam Ikoku, a panelist at the programme raised some concerns that border on ethical issues, pharmacists participation in vaccination, spread of pharmacy outlets across the country to boost access to medicines, provision of funds for local manufacturing of drugs and vaccines, etc. He urged pharmacists to create conversations around these areas to get government’s attention.
Also speaking during the panel discussion, Prof. Ray Ozolua, a panelist x-rayed lessons learned from the pandemic as it has drastically altered universities programme and made online classes mandatory. Going forward, he advised Nigerians to leverage technology in resolving present challenges, while calling for Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in case of a possible future pandemic.
The former President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria,(PSN) Alh. Mohammed Yaro Budah, moderator of the panel discussion also listed lessons from the pandemic, urging everyone to use them towards preventing another disease outbreak in the country.
In his concluding remarks at the Media Week, President of the Academy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, acknowledged the success of the programme, attributing it to the tireless efforts of some NAPharm Fellows, members and Fellows of NGE, and all felicitators of the 6-day event.
“It has shown that we Nigerians have the genius, authenticity and creativity to make change”, he asserted.
In his vote of thanks, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, chairman of the planning committee and vice president of the Academy, appreciated all the facilitators, keynote speakers, chairmen, moderators and panelists. He specially thanked the technical director of the Decrew Media Studio, Pharm. Raji Kabiru and Prof. Lere Baale, director of Business School Netherlands ( BSN) for offering his premises as our studio. He thanked the leadership of the Nigerian Guild of Editors ( NGE) for their partnership to make the 6-day programme a huge success.