Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osage Ehanire and the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, stated yesterday that Nigeria, and indeed Africa, must begin to harness their local resources to solve problems in the healthcare system.
The trio spoke during the launch of the Independent Task Team (ITT) of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) on equitable and universal access to vaccines and vaccination in Africa at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Obasanjo, who was represented by a Senegalese, Professor Abdoulaye Bathily, said that Africa’s main challenge is not fund or resources, but the inability to harness available resources to provide homemade solutions.
He said: “I have always believed that Africa’s main challenge is not lack of funds or resources. Our main challenge is the inability to harness available resources to provide customized home-grown solutions that will address the challenges we see across the continent.
“We need to begin to take actions to harness our local resources to solve our local problems. Through initiatives like this one, Africa will be able to encourage and retain its talent and support them in finding solutions to its age-long health challenges and protect people from other vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Ehanire, who participated virtually in the event, urged the stakeholders to support the production of a home-grown COVID-19 vaccine.
In the same manner, Obaseki noted that his administration is currently implementing a wide range of healthcare reforms geared towards achieving high-quality healthcare and universal health care services for Edo people.
He said: “The outbreak of the novel COVID-19 pandemic disease across the globe, with its attendant threats to the socio-economic survival of even the most stable economies, have caused nations and leaders of the world to rethink the importance of effective measures and control of communicable diseases, of which vaccinations rank the most efficient and sustainable intervention.
“Vaccines have helped the world to deal with the various deadly diseases and potentially devastating infections and diseases that could have transformed into pandemics and spell global doom, such as polio, smallpox, meningitis, pneumonia and diarrhea and among others. These have been totally eradicated or totally brought to substantial control with the help of vaccines.
“For the inauguration of the ITT on the development of vaccines and equitable, universal access to essential vaccines and vaccination in Africa, the initiative of CoDA and its partners is coming at the right time in the history of vaccines and vaccination.”
He explained that his administration is currently implementing a wide range of healthcare reforms, which are geared towards achieving high-quality healthcare and universal health care services for our people.”
Obaseki promised that his administration would partner with CoDA and others in the task of achieving equitable access to vaccines and vaccinations in Africa.
He also reassured equitable access to health care, commodities and technology is at the heart of his reforms, especially for the vulnerable and under-represented groups.
“I have personally chaired the state’s COVID-19 response team, since March 2020 and we have over 62 vaccinations teams working in all our 18 Local Government Areas of the state. We have vaccinated over 38,000 of our citizens out of our target of 47,944”, he stated.