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COVID: Local vaccine production now matter of national security, says Buhari

COVID: Local vaccine production now matter of national security, says Buhari
April 20
18:21 2022

President Muhammadu Buhari says local vaccine production has become a matter of national security.

According to Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari said this on Wednesday while receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Integrated Biopharmaceuticals Industries Consortium (NIBI), led by Vilarugel Cuyas, chairman of Fredlab.

The president said the impact of COVID-19 on the national economy and communal life was a reminder that the wealth of a nation is dependent on the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

He said Nigeria has also learned, because of the pandemic, that countries must look inward for sustenance in food and medical supplies.

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“At the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria was quick to respond to what seemed an existential threat, by strengthening the health system’s capacity to handle the pandemic – an initiative that continues till today in collaboration with the state government, private sector, and international partners,” he said.

“Key lessons of the pandemic are that nations can be brought to their knees by disease outbreaks that cripple national and international trade, and that countries must be able to look inwards for sustenance in food and medical supplies. The benefit of this Administration’s early investment in agriculture came to light during this global turbulence.

“However, we cannot say the same for essential medicines, health supplies and most importantly vaccines to protect our citizens. Increasing the capacity for in-country production of vaccines and medical supplies has therefore become a matter of not just urgency, but of national security.”

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Buhari said the “me-first” attitude of many nations that were centres of biopharmaceutical production placed developing nations, particularly those in Africa, at a severe disadvantage.

He said as a result of this, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, upon his directive, has been conducting local and international high-level consultations to seek access to the know-how and finance to revive domestic manufacturing of vaccines.

The president directed the minister to submit a progress report on the local production of vaccines by the end of May 2022.

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