By Zayamu Hassan
The Federal Government has been advised to pursue vigorously the “One Health” Strategy and other requirements under the International Health Regulation.
This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the National COVID-19 Summit which took place on December 6-7, 2021 in Abuja, with the theme: Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better.
The communique also called on the Federal Government to galvanise the support of other countries to call for debt relief so that resources could be channelled towards building the national bio-security and improve access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
This, it said, is due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic on economies across the world.
The Summit also called on the federal government to galvanise the support of African countries in the collaborative process to end COVID-19 pandemic on the continent and build back stronger public health systems.
The Summit communique was signed by representatives of various interest groups in the health sector including the Coordinator Africa Health Budget, Dr. Aminu Magashi, who represented the coalition of CSOs; Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, who represented the National Assembly; Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha and many others.
According to the communique: “Considering the impact of COVID-19 on developing economies, which has worsened their debt situation, Nigeria should galvanise other nations to call for debt relief so that resources could be channelled towards building the national bio-security and improve access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“The current level of engagement with the organised private sector in strengthening the health sector should be encouraged and sustained.
“The “One Health” Strategy and the requirements under the International Health Regulation should be pursued vigorously.”
The Summit, however, called for the retention and sustenance of the coordination structure under the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) in line with current global best practice and recognizing the persistent threat of COVID-19.
“In view of the global experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic, government should consider building a structure for the management of national bio-security; for impact measurement and effective evaluation of the national response, the collaboration between national and sub-national entities should be strengthened; the capacity and numbers of human resources for health should be improved and strengthened.
“The Summit urged that for improved partnership on Primary health care delivery and vaccination uptake, Government should strengthen the collaboration between the national and sub-national entities.
“The Summit agreed that going forward, the resolutions should be measurable with timelines to track and report on progress on implementation,” the communique said.
It would be recalled that the summit had five main objectives which included reviewing the country’s COVID-19 response from February 2020 to November 2021- to identify successes, gaps, and lessons to be learnt; identify resources and develop strategies that will actualize the country’s expressed international commitments towards ending COVID-19 by 31st December 2022; and develop an Accountability Framework for COVID-19 response and health security in Nigeria.
Other objectives of the summit included to synthesize the blueprint for Nigeria’s pandemic recovery, reconstruction, health security, and sustainability; and articulated actionable recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on the governance structure, resources, and policies needed to end COVID-19 in Nigeria by 31st December 2022, and build back the health system and the economy to better respond to future health-security threats.