Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30 million to help finance a vaccine plant, Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd.
He however added that Nigeria must take its own destiny in its hands to build local capacities that will ensure healthcare access to the people, and take advantage of the opportunity to become a leading nation in healthcare.
Osinbajo, who expressed belief that Nigeria is “well on the way,” to getting the job done, spoke yesterday in Abuja at the International Conference on Health Access Beyond COVID-19.
He disclosed that “Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30 million to help finance a vaccine plant, Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd. Chaired by Prof. Oyewale Tomori; 49% of the company is owned by the Nigerian government, with the balance held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc. There are plans to begin construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year.”
In recognition of the work of Nigerian scientists by international bodies, Osinbajo added that, “Professor Happi and his team have also produced a groundbreaking rapid test, certified by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA of the US government. It costs around $3, much less than Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. In addition, the test does not require highly equipped laboratories that tend to be too expensive. But more remarkably they are developing a Nigerian anti-Covid vaccine.”
The vice president highlighted the country’s strengths in the areas of healthcare while emphasising major steps the country needs to take in order to improve its health system.
In a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, the vice president said one of the eye openers from the COVID-19 pandemic “is that despite infrastructural weaknesses we have an experienced and robust public health system, peopled by some of the best personnel in the world, but more importantly (is) the huge opportunities for becoming a leading nation in healthcare.”
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