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NMA to FG: Boost local vaccine production to reduce dependence on foreigners

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged the federal government to improve in its efforts to boost local vaccine production in order to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on other countries.

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The association, in a communique issued on Wednesday at the end of its annual general conference, said the country has demonstrated capacity in the past by producing vaccines against yellow fever.

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With the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for Nigeria to produce its own vaccines have heightened as the country is currently relying on procuring doses sourced from foreign countries.

Doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine currently being distributed in Nigeria were procured through the United Nations-led COVAX initiative.

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However, recently, the federal government said Nigeria has joined the list of countries developing COVID-19 vaccines with two candidates currently awaiting clinical trials.

NMA urged the federal government to ensure the success of the recently-launched initiative on promoting indigenous efforts.

“We strongly appeal to the Federal Government to spare no efforts at ensuring success of the renewed initiative with the inauguration of the Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd., a joint venture between the federal government and May & Baker Nigeria Plc,” the association said.

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“The NMA will be very pleased if the initiative is realised so as to reduce the over-dependence on other countries, and achieve self-sufficiency in vaccine production.”

The NMA also called on the federal government to increase funding for health institutions and ensure adequate provision for the welfare of health workers.

“The AGC/DM resolves to continue with the high-level advocacy for the improvement of access, quality of healthcare services and financial risk protection that will guarantee the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (Agenda 2030),” the association added.

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