President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed his advocacy for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
The Nigerian leader made the call on Friday in his remark at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly tagged UNGA 76.
President Buhari said: ‘‘Vaccination is the key to our safe emergence from the pandemic. Nigeria remains grateful for the assistance received from our partners and friends all over the world.
‘‘We fully support the COVAX initiative from which we have benefitted. We also thank the United States of America, Turkey, India, China, the European Union, and others for the vaccines provided.
‘‘Despite the acknowledgment, however, I would like to reiterate my call for a fairer and more equitable distribution of vaccines to all countries so that, together, we can fight and contain the pandemic.”
President Buhari noted with dismay, the emergence of new strains of the dreaded disease thus, the need for more vaccines.
‘‘The rising wave of newer and more contagious strains makes this even more urgent. No country can afford the socio-economic implications of prolonged shutdown. It is imperative to underscore that no one is safe until everyone is safe,’’ he said.
He has also used the occasion to outline the steps Nigeria has taken to achieve ‘‘moderate success’’ in containing the virus and halt its deadly onslaught in the country.
‘‘At the outset, we recognized detection and contact tracing to be important tools in combating the virus.
‘‘In this connection, from a mere four laboratories with testing and detection capacities, we ramped up the facilities to over 140 centers today.
‘‘Similarly, we built isolation centers and emergency hospital wards in record time all over the country. We carry out genomic sequencing in designated laboratories across the country with a view to detecting variants in circulation.
‘‘In addition, over 40,000 health care workers have recently been trained on Infection, Prevention and Control measures with the support of various partners.
‘‘Through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, we have established 16 infectious disease treatment centers located within our Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centers,’’ he said.