FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, have reiterated the need for a home-grown solution to address vaccine access to totally defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and protect people from other vaccine-preventable diseases.
They spoke during the launch of the Independent Task Team of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) on equitable and universal access to vaccines and vaccination in Africa held in Okada, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Delivering his welcome address, Obasanjo, who was represented by Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily from Senegal, said Nigeria and Africa must begin to harness its local resources to solve their problems.
“I have always believed that Africa’s main challenge is not lack of funds or resources. Our main challenge is the inability to harness available resources to provide customized home-grown solutions leading to address the challenges we see across the continent.
“We need to begin to take actions to harness our local resources to solve our local problems. Through initiatives like this one, Africa will be able to encourage and retain its talent and support them in finding solutions to its age-long health challenges.”
Speaking, Obaseki noted that his government was implementing a wide range of healthcare reforms geared towards achieving high quality healthcare and universal health care services for Edo people.
He said, “For the inauguration of the Independent Task Team on the Development of Vaccines and equitable, universal access to essential vaccines and vaccination in Africa, the initiative of CoDA and its partners is coming at the right time in the history of vaccines and vaccination.
“Consideration for equity in access to health care, commodities and technology are at the heart of our reforms, especially for the vulnerable and under-represented groups.
“I have personally chaired the state’s COVID-19 response team since March 2020 and we have over 62 vaccinations teams working in all our 18 local government areas of the state. We have vaccinated over 38,000 of our citizens out of our target of 47,944.
“Edo will partner with CoDA and other veritable collaborators in the task ahead, particularly that of achieving equitable access to vaccines and vaccinations in Africa,” he reassured.
In his contribution, Ehanire, who spoke via Zoom, urged the support of all stakeholders towards ensuring the production of a COVID-19 local vaccine.