The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Saturday, promised that Nigeria would continue to partner with the World Health Organisation and other countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing as well as unhindered supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines to all Africans.
Buhari made the promise in his remarks while participating in the virtual 34th ordinary session of the African Union from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the need for the immunisation of 60 per cent of Africans with safe and secure vaccines could not be overemphasised.
The President said Nigeria, therefore, welcomed the decision to establish the coronavirus African Vaccine Acquisition Capacity to accelerate the financing and procurement of coronavirus vaccines for the continent.
He said, “We continue to appreciate the remarkable progress by the team with respect to securing a provisional 270 million coronavirus vaccines doses for Africa along with Africa Medical Supply platform and other laudable initiatives already in place.
“In my capacity as ECOWAS Champion on Coronavirus, Nigeria has provided logistics support, including the freight in of critical COVID-19 medical supplies distributed to other ECOWAS member states.
“At the national level and in the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritise the vulnerable, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to mitigate the socio-economic effects of the disease.
“I would like to stress that Nigeria is committed to working with other member states in the spirit of regional cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general wellbeing.
“We will continue to partner with the World Health Organisation, the African Centre for Disease Control and West African Health Organisation as well as other countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing as well as unhindered supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines to all Africans.”
Buhari thanked President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa for what he called the outstanding manner in which he steered the affairs of the AU in the last one year and congratulated the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi, on his assumption of office as the union’s chairperson.
He congratulated Ramaphosa for making good use of the platform of the bureau to address key issues for Africa on the coronavirus pandemic.
He added, “The coronavirus pandemic has created additional burden to our public health system and posed a major challenge to the gains made in the socio-economic development and overall wellbeing of our continent.
“The outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic has not made the situation any better.
“I commend the African Centre for Disease Control for rising to the occasion by ensuring the implementation of set priorities.
“I also commend other efforts and support extended to the regional economic communities and member states. The leadership provided by the Assembly Bureau, the cooperation of the African Union Commission and regional economic cooperation, including the support from partners have been exemplary.”
Buhari said the establishment of a coronavirus response special fund to implement measures to mitigate the socio-economic and humanitarian impact of coronavirus in Africa, including boosting the capacity of the African Centre for Disease Control, was commendable.
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