The World Health Organisation (WHO), has commended Nigeria for its huge investment in health security during the fight against COVID-19.
The Emergency Preparedness and Response Cluster Lead of the WHO in Nigeria, Dr Rex Mpazanje, gave the commendation on Monday in Abuja, at a three-day Technical Meeting of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 summit.
Mpazanje, however, called on the Federal Government to evolve strategies to sustain the capacities that have been built in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at both the national and state levels.
The WHO lead spoke on the topic: “Leveraging on the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) for COVID-19 response.”
He said that Nigeria did well in terms of investment in health security, but called for more domestic investment from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and at the state levels.
According to him, the investments in National Action Plan on Health Security (NAPHS) have been quite commendable.
This, he said, were in terms of the last review that was done on funds that were supposed to be made available.
“It was clear that in the advent of COVID, Nigeria was able to realise most of the money.
“What was needed was about N439 million and based on the review, almost 80 per cent of that money was realized, largely based on the COVID funding.
“One of the weak areas was that it was 30-40 per cent of the funds that was domestic which brings out the issue of different MDAs not being able to factor their budgets to the activities that were in the NAPHS plan.
“There is the need for improvement both at the MDAs and state levels so that there will be more domestic funding that is dedicated within the budget existing in the different MDAs to implement NAPHS plan,’’ he said.
Speaking further, he noted that COVID has been a panacea in as much as it has been a challenge. That was an opportunity to increase core capacities of preparedness and response for Nigeria.
“The challenge going forward will be how best we can sustain the capacities that have been built, especially, at the national and state levels,” he said.
In his address of welcome, Dr Muhammad Muktar, Technical Lead, PSC, on COVID-19, said that government assisted states in the fight against the pandemic.
He expressed optimism that the summit would review what had been done in the country in the fight against the pandemic and ways of building the bridge on what has been lost.
While noting that the pandemic would not end soon, Muktar said that efforts would be galvanized to prevent the hash impact of pandemic in the future.
The Summit Programme and Technical Committee head, Dr Aminu Garba, said that the event has opened the landscape for robust contribution by all stakeholders in the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garba said that the summit would chart a way forward for the government in respect of the next step of action in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic beyond 2021.
The summit, he added, would make suggestions to the President on what shape the fight against the pandemic would take post 2021.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit’s theme is: “Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better”, while the sub-theme is: “Leadership and Governance in Pandemic Recovery and Reconstruction. Nigeria’s Health-Security Framework for Effective Response to Global Health Security Threats.”