COVID-19: Reps to investigate status of medical, pharmaceutical research

The House of Representatives is to investigate the status of local medical and pharmaceutical research in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and other diseases in Nigeria.

The House also mandated its Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 to look into the operations of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC for a home-grown approach in the war against COVID-19 and other diseases.

This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion on the urgent need to investigate the status of medical and pharmaceutical research in the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Presenting the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Toby Okechukwu, said, the House had noted that out of about 4,911,720 confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, Nigeria has witnessed over 6,000 confirmed cases with 191 deaths as of Tuesday.

Mr. Okechukwu explained that the fight against the pandemic must be a collective fight through the harnessing of the country’s local and traditional medicine potentials.

“The House is concerned that while countries are overwhelmed and occupied with their challenges, Nigeria appears to depend entirely on external interventions in the health sub-sector of our economy.

The House is conscious of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with qualified and talented scientists, who are capable of developing indigenous cures for the diseases.

The House is, therefore, mindful of the need for a home-grown approach in dealing with the threat and spread of these diseases.

The House is also cognizant of the need for government’s action in assembling and mandating medical researchers towards developing indigenous solutions for our health care needs.” he said.

Vaccine Production

In another motion on the urgent need to speed up local production of vaccines in Nigeria, the House is to interface with relevant stakeholders to deliberate on possible ways of getting the needed legislative support to fast track the production of vaccines in Nigeria.

Presenting the motion, Mr. John Okafor from Imo State expressed concern that Nigeria spends over four (4) billion naira annually on importation of vaccines, of which if vaccines are locally produced will reduce the volume of monies spent on the importation, local delivery, insurance and handling charges.

He said “Cognizant that a successful production of local vaccines will help the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health to effectively tackle outbreaks such as the recent outbreak of Gastroenteritis in Lagos which claimed lives and the current ravaging COVID-19; 

Also Cognizant that local vaccine production will not only save Nigeria Billions of naira from the vaccine importation but will go a long way in guaranteeing the availability of vaccines during routine immunization as well as exports to other African Countries, thereby cutting down the cost of vaccines in Nigeria.”

In adopting the motion members agreed that the House Committees on Healthcare Services, Health Institutions and HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria would interface with the Minister of Health, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Executive Director, May and Baker Nigeria on the issue.

Source: Voice of Nigeria