By Asmau Ahmad
The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), on COVID-19, has said it will be hosting a National COVID-19 summit that will hold from December 6 to 8, 2021.
The National Incident Manager, PSC. COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, said this on Monday at the bi weekly national briefing on COVID-19, in Abuja.
Dr Mohammed said that the summit would focuse on ending the pandemic and building back better health security to prevent and prepare for future biological threats in the country.
He revealed that the theme of the Summit is: “Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better. While the Sub-Themes of the Summit are: “Leadership and Governance in Pandemic Recovery and Reconstruction;” “Nigeria’s Health Security Framework for Effective Response to Global Health Security Threats.”
Speaking on the objectives of the Summit, Mohammed said “This crucial summit will provide a forum for presentations and brainstorming on the following:
To review the country’s COVID-19 response from February 2020 to November 2021- to identify successes, gaps, and lessons learnt;To identify resources and develop strategies that will actualize the country’s expressed international commitments towards ending COVID-19 by December 31, 2022.
“To develop an Accountability Framework for COVID-19 response and health security in Nigeria; to synthesize the blueprint for Nigerias pandemic recovery, reconstruction, health security, and sustainability.
To articulate actionable recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on the governance structure, resources, and policies needed to end COVID-19 in Nigeria by December 31, 2022, and build back the health system and the economy to better respond to future health-security threats.
And on the Rational/Justification, he said “the Summit will go a long way to demonstrate Nigeria’s readiness to action her international commitments, which will bolster the confidence and support of our international development partners in concerted efforts to ambitiously end COVID-19 pandemic by December 31, 2022.
“Moreover, it will set the tone to strengthen our health system and bio-security
architecture to be able to effectively respond to present and future global health security threats,” he explained.
He added that the country had been mounting spirited multi-sectoral efforts under the coordination of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) initially.
“However, at the expiration of the extended phase of the PTF mandate in March 2021, the President authorized the transition of the PTF to a Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), with an expiration date of December 31, 2021,” he explained.
He added that the modified mandate of the PSC reflects the non-emergent status of COVID-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic that would persist for few more years.
“This position has been corroborated by the international community based on the evolving dynamics of COVID-19
pandemic-with capacity for progressive mutations to more transmissible and deadly variants.
“This understanding has impelled world leaders recently to come to a conclusion that if efforts are not renewed and aggressive measures are not taken, COVID-19 pandemic will continue to ravage humanity well longer than earlier envisaged.
“Consequently, they came together on September 22, 2021 at a Global COVID-19 Summit convened by President Joe Biden of the United States
of America, and resolved to adopt an ambitious agenda to end COVID-19 pandemic by year 2022,” he explained.
According to him, Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa and an important stakeholder in the comity of nations, participated in the September 2021 Global COVID-19 Summit, where she made commitments to the ambitious “Global Agenda/Movement” to end COVID-19 pandemic by year
2022 and building back better.
He noted that the glaring potentials for COVID-19 to remain a serious bio-security and socio-economic threats to Nigeria well longer than the earlier projected December 31, 2021, that informed the imperative of National COVID-19 Summit- to enable all critical stakeholders in the health and socio-economic sectors of the country to come together and review the response to this highly disturbing and disruptive pandemic, with a view to repositioning the country to end it by 2022 and build back the health system and the economy of our country better.