COVID-19 opportunity to upgrade Nigeria’s health infrastructure – Osinbajo

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said on Thursday the COVID-19 pandemic provided Nigeria with a unique opportunity to upgrade its public health infrastructure.

Osinbajo, according to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, stated this at a virtual meeting with top government officials and some Nigerian scientists on the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that the pandemic also offered a platform for the training of health experts in the country.

The interaction, which focused on Nigeria’s response and the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured presentations by one of Nigeria’s leading virologists, Prof. Oyewale Tomori.

Also at the forum were an Infectious Diseases Scientist, Prof. Philip Onyebujoh, and the Director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Prof. Christian Happi.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihewkweazu, were also at the meeting.

The vice president said: “We are at a point where we can gain tremendously as a people from the COVID-19 pandemic and a lot of what has been said will really help in putting this in perspective for us as a government.

“So, we can actually go out and resolve many of these problems and improve the environment for ourselves and for the coming generations in particular. This has been an inspiring intervention and discussion.

“I say inspiring because it is evident that our experts — whether they are directly engaged or not — are also paying attention not just to an unfolding public health problem but also the very many opportunities that this problem provides for us, the many opportunities to ramp up our public health capacities in various ways.”

He said there was a need for the country to focus on the opportunities and make the best of the situation.

“We must really focus on the opportunities that this period really gives us.

“What I have noticed is that unless something like this happens, we are very frequently relaxed and just hope for the best.

“I think we are in a position now where we can do a lot. In fact, there is an opportunity to do more in terms of government funding.

“So, I think this is a major responsibility for us, the government, at this time, to really look at how we can, at least, do much better in terms of preparing young men and women for the challenges ahead.

“This point was also made about the quality of laboratory scientists and the quality of medical personnel and paramedics and all that,” Osinbajo added.

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