– As NAPharm/NGE Media Week on COVID-19 Commences
While it may be difficult to categorically say the impact of the pandemic on global economy and the extent to which it is going, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said that more than 28 trillion dollars have been lost to the pandemic and two million people have lost their lives due to the infection.
Ihekweazu, made the assertion on Monday at the ongoing Media Week jointly organised by Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) and Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
The NAPharm programme, themed ”COVID-19: facts, Myths and Way Forward”, commenced on Monday, 12th April, 2021 and will run to Saturday, 17th April 2021, virtually and physically, at the Business School Netherland, Ikeja, Lagos. In physical attendance were: the President, NAPharm, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; Vice-President, NAPharm, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi; NAPharm Director of Programmes, Dr Lolu Ojo; Dr Olufunsho Awodele; Dr Victor Ikumawoyi; Dr Jimmy Adeyeye Arigbabuwo and Distinguished Prof. C.I Igwilo.
The NCDC boss noted that the impact of the pandemic has resulted in fractured societies and economy. He mentioned the efforts of the agency in curbing the spread of the virus through the provision of more laboratories and emergency operation centres.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to be prepared against the possible future pandemic, saying there is need for capacity building and the use of digital surveillance to train and protect healthcare workers.
The Media Week was declared open by Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi, who explained the intention of the programme, which is to guide Nigerians towards a new turn in the nurturing and management of scientific knowledge on COVID-19 for the overall benefit of the people.
He acknowledged the need for the unique collaboration between NAPharm and NGE and other private sector organisations to complement government’s efforts in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the people.
The NAPharm President, explained how his team has assembled a diverse team of professionals, across the healthcare sector and beyond, who will over the next six days examine a wide range of subject areas that relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This collaboration seeks to achieve critical objectives which are to complement efforts by government and other organisations to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our people.
“We earnestly plead with the Government of Nigeria to commit more seriously to investing in broadening and deepening the frontiers of scientific knowledge. We intend to document lessons which Nigeria needs to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said“.
He urged the government to beam the search light on research development and thereby promoting scientific research via improved funding and better motivation of researchers and also to enhance their capacity, to tackle future epidemics speedily.
He also commended the leadership of the NGE and the enthusiasm with which it has committed itself to collaborating with NAPharm to achieve the objectives laid out.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi further added that if Nigerians could work together, they are capable of conquering any disease no matter its nature, direction and timing and in so doing, ensure better and healthier lives for all.
Moderating the panel session, Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai, immediate past president, PSN, had like Prof. N.N Wannang, Dr Mustapha Isah, the president, NGE, and Dr Jimmy Adeyeye Arigbabuwo on the panel.
In his contribution, Wannang admitted that COVID-19 has suffered a lot of controversies and as a result of this, “our healthcare is in shambles”.
He added that there is a need for human capacity development and for government to make deliberate effort to educate the people and also bring researchers together, so as to make progress in the system.
Dr Jimmy Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, mentioned the novelty of the virus, which has made everyone a suspect and that is the more reason for proper education, advocacy, teleconferencing and webinar to tutor people on where they are going.
Giving the vote of thanks, Atueyi, expressed his appreciation to everyone that joined the meeting both physically and virtually, despite being the first working day of the week and he believes that following day will be better.
He explained that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire couldn’t join meeting due to other assignments. “ He may not be physically nor virtually with us, but I believe he is with us in the spirit, because up till this morning, he planned to join the event”.
The Pharmanews publisher also thanked Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu profusely for his efforts in preparing and delivering the keynote address.