Nigeria Has What It Takes to Become a Leader in Healthcare, Says Osinbajo

18 October 2021

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has Nigeria must take its destiny in its hands, build local capacities that will ensure health access to the people, and take advantage of the opportunity to become a leading nation in healthcare.

Osinbajo said he is of the firm belief that there are already clear indications that "we are well on the way," to getting the job done.

Speaking at the International Conference on Health Access beyond COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, Osinbajo highlighted the country's strengths in the areas of healthcare while emphasising major steps the country needs to take in order to improve its heath system.

He said 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.

He said 49% of the company owned by the Nigerian government, with the balance held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc, stressing that "there are plans to begin construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year."

He called for a private sector-led initiative to make the country self-sufficient in basic drugs and in being a net exporter to Africa, noting, again, that Nigeria has the human capital to build a more efficient health care system.

Osinbajo said Nigeria must take its own destiny in its hands, build local capacities that will ensure health access to the people, and take advantage of the opportunity to become a leading nation in healthcare.

He said the recently established Healthcare Reform committee by the president might "well be at least one of the vehicles for ensuring that we are able to get some of our dreams comes true."

He further stressed government's commitment in supporting pharmaceutical and research agencies to develop and manufacture vaccines locally, and so enhance Nigeria's domestic pharmaceutical capacity.

He said African countries must take proactive approach in responding to the slow pace of getting access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The conference themed "Health Access and Social-Economic Development Beyond COVID-19: The First Multisectoral Approach to Solution Finding" is a two-day event that has several Nigerian scientists and Vice Chancellors in attendance.

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