Dr Osagie Enahire

Nigeria is working with the World Health Organisation to finalise enrollment with ACT Accelerator, a global mechanism tracking and sponsoring research organisations working on covid19 vaccine development.

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said this on Thursday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

“We are also interested in the COVAX facility, a GAVI supported global initiative to procure and assure equitable access to vaccines, as soon as they are available, especially for lower and lower middle-Income Countries (LMIC),” the minister said.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP
File photo: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP

“This will prioritise Nigeria for allocation of a part of two billion vaccines doses that will be secured, in a special plan to protect the interests of poorer countries.”

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria crossed the 50,000 mark on Wednesday with the death toll at 985, despite efforts to halt the spread of the pandemic.

Dr Ehanire who noted the data, including the fact 37,304 people have recovered from the virus, warned that the continued emergence of new cases is evidence that “COVID-19 has not abated”.

With the race for a vaccine still on and deaths being reported from across the world amid fears of a second wave of the pandemic, the health minister once again called for concerted efforts from all Nigerians to halt the spread of the disease.

“I shall end my speech today by reminding us all to take responsibility together, not only for today but also for the days ahead, when the imperative to open our economy will demand great sacrifice and discipline from us all,” he said.

“The new normal may be demanding, but we all – government and citizens- must collaborate to halt the spread of this disease for each other’s sake.

“Global experience so far has proved that by following advisories and adhering to all the prescribed measures including the appropriate wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and respiratory hygiene, we can control the spread of this disease.”

As people play their parts, Dr Ehanire gave the assurance that the Health sector, on its part, is being strengthened and new coping measures are being developed to counter the challenges ahead, “from developing ambulance networks for patient transportation in case of emergency to improving treatment options for COVID-19. Our objective remains to depress the case fatality rate.”

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