By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday revealed its readiness to support researchers, science based institutions and bio-technology firms with N100billion grant in the quest for a home grown vaccine to fight Coronavirus disease in Nigeria.
The apex bank governor, who spoke at the commissioning of ThisDay Dome Testing, Treating, Tracing and Isolation Centre in Abuja, said the pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the global economy, impacting all nations big and small.
According to him, so far, the Coalition Against COVID 19, (CACOVID) has raised over N27billion to fund this initiative.
He said the donation received so far are being used to build well equipped isolation centers across the 36 states of the federation.
‘’’The Thisday Dome Testing, Treating, Tracing and Isolation Centere being launched today, represents a part of the support being provide by the CACOVID alliance. So far, CACOVID has equipped and handed over isolation center in Rivers, Enugu, Kwara, Ondo and Bornu states.
‘’It is expected that other isolation center will be handed over in the other states of the country including FCT, by May 23rd 2020.
As part of measures put in place place to cushion the effect of the COVID 19, CACOVID has provided food items to poor and Indigents Nigerians’’, he said.
He said Nigeria’s economy is exposed to triple shock following the spread of the disease.
‘’In Nigeria, our economy is exposed to triple. Shock in supply and demand and shock revenue. Permit me to say that we are currently faced with public health and economy crises of unprecedented proportion driven primarily, by 55% drop in crude oil between January and May 2020.
‘’This unparalleled shock requires that the federal and the state government along with the private sector work together to address this challenges in order to preserve life and restore economic activities and reset the economy of our dear county.
‘’I which to acknowledge however, that our ability to restore the growth of our economy is dependent on how we address our public health crises occassioned by the COVID 19.
‘’It is in realization of this fact that the CBN recently launched a N100billion Nara health care intervention fund. Practitioners in the pharmaceutical and health care sector will be able to access finance at single digit interest rate through this funds.
‘’Needless to say that if we wait for other countries to develop vaccine, will will be the last to receive curative remedy for our teaming population.
‘’The CBN, today, challenges Nigerian scientist to go back into their laboratories and develop Nigeria home grown vaccine. Once validated by the authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful for the sake of 200m Nigerians now confronted by COVID 19’’, he said.
Also, speaking at the event, Secretary to the government of the federation said the facility being g commission is 300 bed space which will be increased to 500 bed space and 54 gene testing facilities.
He also said from January 30th till date, there has been 4.2million confirmed cases, 287, 000 fatality and 1.5million recovery.
According to him, in Africa, 62,000 confirmed cases have been recorded with 2,200 fatality across 53 countries.
The minister of health, Dr. OsagieEhanire, who also spoke at the event said it takes all hands to be on deck to tackle the worst single public health emagerncy of our generation.
‘’The nature of this virus makes the identification and isolation of infected persons and their contacts a public health imperativea and the importance cannot be over-emphasized’’ he said