Covid-19: “Nigeria is not testing enough, only recycling tests” -SGF

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By Gloria Essien, Abuja

The Chairman of the Presidential Task force on Covid-19 and the  Secretary to the Government of Nigeria, Mr. Boss Mustapha, says Nigeria is not doing enough Covid-19 testing in the country.

He was speaking at the 2021 first quarter meeting of Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Healthcare Delivery, in Abuja.

The meeting focused on Covid-19 vaccination and the role of traditional leaders in educating people in the grassroots.

Mr. Mustapha said “Nigeria is still not testing enough. We are still recycling Covid-19 tests. We have not tasted 1.2 million people as it is being speculated. We are only recycling the test. I have tested a couple of times, I’m sure his eminence and other people here have tested a few times too”. 

He said that traditional rulers are referenced in the communities and they have a major role to play in making sure that their subjects take responsibility for Covid-19.

The SGF  said that very soon, vaccination certificate would be a criterion for international travels.

“We leave in a world that has become a global village and we can not isolate ourselves. The new trend has come with viciousness”. The SGF said.

He noted that 2021 is a year of non pharmaceutical intervention, wearing of face masks, keeping social distancing in addition to vaccination.

On his part, the Nigerian minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that the government knows that as precious as these vaccines are, there are voices already expressing doubt about it, even before they arrive.

“I wish to assure you that these vaccines have been well tested and are in use in America, Asia, Canada, England, India, China and all European countries. The WHO has listed it for use globally and in Nigeria, our National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control ( NAFDAC) will subject it to addition quality tests to doubly assure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine”, Dr. Ehanire said.

He explained that Nigeria desires to be on the same page with traditional and religious leaders, so that programs that benefit the people can run smoothly.

” I trust that the support of traditional institutions is assured, once a clear understanding is reached on imperatives to stop the aggressive March of COVID-19 in our communities”. Dr. Ehanire said.

The minister however said that Nigeria vaccine arrival might delay as stronger countries are acquiring more doses.

“Scientists around the world have calculated that, for a country to be free of Covid-19, 70% of its population must be vaccinated. Therefore all countries in Europe and America are rushing the vaccination programs to meet this target. We too must meet 70% to save Nigeria from Covid-19, but with doubting voices already working against the current, the Ministry of Health has concerns about getting its job done, hence this meeting to explain the nature of the vaccine to our royal fathers,” he added.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar, gave the assurance that northern traditional rulers would continue to assist the government to succeed.

“We will go back to our community and talk to our people and tell them what we heard in Abuja” The Sultan said.

He urged participants to take positive messages about the vaccine to their subjects.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said that the meeting was aimed at educating northern traditional leaders about the Covid-19 vaccines that are being expected in Nigeria, soon.

He said that traditional rulers were important to the success of the vaccination exercise.

Traditional rulers at the meeting promised to continue to work with the government to contain Covid-19.

 

Confidence Okwuchi

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