The Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele has announced the launch of a grant to fund research for the development of vaccines and drugs for infectious diseases and other diseases in the country.
He made the disclosure at the inauguration of the Body of Experts (BoE) for the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme said the CBN has already received over 20 applications valued at about N67bn to access the new grant.
The CBN didn’t state the amount of money set aside to fund the new grant.
This facility is in addition to the N100billion credit support intervention for the healthcare industry earlier announced in response to COVID-19.
Out of the previous N100bn facility, Mr. Emefiele said over 20 projects valued at N26.278bn have been funded.
“Some of the firms that have been able to obtain funding include hospitals, research centres and pharmaceutical industries.”
The Body of Experts (BoE) is chaired by the Prof. Prof Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye, the DG NAFDAC.
Mr. Emefiele said the CBN’s “intermediate objective is intended to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce the bulk manufacturing costs of the drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.”
“To ensure the attainment of our goals, therefore he said, the CBN would be committing considerable human, material, and financial resources to monitoring both the disbursement and utilization of these funds in a robust and verifiable manner” he said.
He also noted that grantees will be required to submit periodic reports on their activities as well as an analysis of the impacts of the grant.
He said the CBN will also undertake regular on and off-site checks to ascertain the veracity of the reports received.
“Therefore, I respectfully enjoin the Body of Experts to help us in achieving these goals by ensuring that these funds are deployed in an effective and efficient manner.
Inaugurating the Committee, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha said COVID-19 has exposed the weakness of Nigeria’s health care system, governance system, and security architecture.
He said the COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of economies and the intervention of the CBN will set Nigeria’s health care system on the path of recovery.
He said “this is an opportunity to retool Nigeria’s healthcare system and it will be greatest disappointment of our time if we don’t seize the moment to redress the rot in our healthcare system and other infrastructure.
He said the process should be driven by science and data to reset our health care system.
“I have seen where levels of government shave abdicated their responsibilities in health and education matters” he noted.
He also tasked the committee that beyond evaluating the scientific papers, they should also look at the governance structures of the healthcare industry and recommended measures to fix same.
He said if Nigeria had built on the experience of Ebola, it should have ramped up the building of molecular laboratories from two adding that now, Nigeria has 41 of those laboratories.