Bill Gates Cautions Nigeria Against High Price For COVID-19 Vaccines
American billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates has cautioned the Government of Nigeria against diverting its limited health fund into trying to pay a high price for COVID-19 vaccines.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gates advised on Tuesday night during a virtual press conference ahead of the launch of the 2021 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letters.
According to Gate, waiting for the GAVI vaccines would be the best thing for Nigeria, and investing proposed vaccine funds into other health-related areas would assist to deepen vaccine coverage and save lives.
GAVI is a global vaccine alliance that brings both public and private sectors together, creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
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GAVI is co-leading COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. This involves coordinating the COVAX Facility, a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual COVID-19 vaccines.
NAN also reported that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency Executive Director, Mr Faisal Shuaib, had said Nigeria aimed to vaccinate 70 per cent of its population to stop the transmission of COVID-19.
Shuaib said about 40 per cent of the population would be vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2021, the remaining 30 per cent before the end of 2022.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, reported that the Federal Government needed about N400 billion to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s 211 million population.
“The key is that Nigeria is still eligible (for GAVI Vaccines), and so a lot of those vaccines, would come through the GAVI facility that we’ve raised money for,” Gates said.
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Gates stressed that the impact of investing funds into the health system, particularly the primary health care system, would be very high in terms of saving children’s lives.
“I’m an advocate for the government to have more resources and prioritise health. I’m not a voter in Nigeria, so Nigeria can decide that independently.
“So my advice is that the primary health care system is what’s super important and that with those finite resources, you have to prioritise expenditure.
“And in that case, waiting for the GAVI vaccines would be the best thing,” he said.
According to him, the deaths resulting from the deficits of primary health care were dramatically higher every year than the total deaths going on in Africa from the pandemic.
“So I hope it causes everyone in society to look at these health issues.
“There should be close to 100 per cent coverage of all the vaccines and you need to have those very functional primary health care systems because the number of lives you can save is huge,” he said.
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BREAKING: PDP Suspends Anyim, Fayose
Former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose; former president of the Senate, Pius Anyim; Prof Dennis Ityavyar and Aslam Aliyu were on Thursday suspended from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP made the suspension on Thursday after an extensive review of the affairs of the party, pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).
The PDP also referred the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.
“The PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to remain united and focused at this critical time,” the statement added.
BREAKING: Ekweremadu, Wife Found Guilty Of Organ-trafficking In UK
A United Kingdom court has found former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, guilty of an organ-trafficking plot, which saw them bring a 21-year-old man to the UK
They were convicted of conspiring to exploit the man from Lagos for his kidney, reports the BBC.
Prosecutors told the Old Bailey the organ was to be removed and given to the couple’s daughter, Sonia, aged 25.
She was cleared of the same charge.
The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
They were later arrested at the airport while trying to leave the UK.
NLC Orders Workers To Shut CBN Offices Nationwide Over Naira Scarcity
Worried about the continued scarcity of naira, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has officially declared a nationwide . The national president of the union, Joe Ajaero, gave the directive during a media briefing in Abuja.
Ajaero also directed that affiliate unions constituting the NLC should be on standby for picketing exercises across all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria nationwide.
The NLC earlier issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to end the petrol and cash scarcity being experienced in the country.
Ajaero told journalists on Wednesday that the industrial action became the last resort of the NLC following the expiration of the ultimatum.
He said the decision to picket the CBN branches became necessary as the federal government and the CBN had failed to show any commitment to addressing the situation.
Ajaero lamented that despite the Supreme Court order that the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, the situation kept getting worse.
He said workers could not access cash to pay fares to work.
He also criticised the pricing irregularities in the petroleum sector.
“Last week, we gave an ultimatum for the review of the cash crunch bedevilling the country, but we have discovered to our dismay that as at this moment not much effort has been made to ameliorate the situation. Government is still foot-dragging on these issues we raised,” Ajaero said.
“Based on this, we met again this morning to review our position and resolved that by Wednesday next week all CBN branches will be picketed. Workers are directed to stay at home too because people cannot eat, workers can no longer go to the office, we have been pushed to the wall.
“We have decided to take our destiny in our hands, we have mobilised our workers on this exercise.”
The NLC has no fewer than 43 affiliate unions which include, but not limited to, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, and the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
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