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COVID-19: stakeholders suggest sustainability of Presidential Steering Committee

Stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19, have suggested that the coordination structure under the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) be sustained and strengthened.

The stakeholders gave the suggestion in a communique adopted after their meeting on December 10, 2021, made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), after a general ratification on Wednesday in Abuja.

The communique was signed by the Coordinator, Africa Health Budget (for Coalition of CSOs) Dr. Aminu Magashi; Pharm Frank Mounemeh, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (for the Private Sector).

Also in attendance at the stakeholders meeting are: Dr Betta Edu, Commissioner for health in Cross River State (for Forum of Commissioners of Health in Nigeria);

Also, Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health (for the National Assembly), and Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, PSC on COVID-19 were also in attendance.

NAN reports that the mandate of the PSC as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari came to an end on Dec. 31, 2021.

The National COVID-19 Summit with the theme ‘’Pushing through the last mile to end the pandemic and build back better’’ was held in Abuja, from December 6 – 7, 2021, but was preceded by Technical meetings held from Saturday, December 4th to Sunday December 5th 2021.

The summit resolved that “in line with current global practice and recognising the persisting threat of COVID-19, the coordination structure under the Presidential Steering Committee should be sustained.

“Given the global experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic, the government should consider building a structure for the management of national bio-security considering the impact of COVID-19 on developing economies, which has worsened their debt situation.

“Nigeria should galvanize other nations to call for debt relief so that resources could be channelled towards building the national bio-security and improve access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“The One Health Strategy and the requirements under the International Health Regulation should be pursued vigorously. Nigeria should galvanize the support of African countries in the collaborative process to end the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent and build back stronger public health systems.

For impact measurement and effective evaluation of the national response, the collaboration between national and sub-national entities should be strengthened.”

The summit also noted that for improved partnership on Primary Health Care delivery and vaccination uptake, government should strengthen the collaboration between the national and sub-national entities.

“For impact measurement and effective evaluation of the national response, the collaboration between national and sub-national entities should be strengthened.

“The capacity and numbers of human resources for health should be improved and strengthened,”it read.

The Summit, however, agreed that going forward, the resolutions should be measurable with timelines to track and report on progress on implementation.

NAN reports that the Summit recorded over 700 participants attending in-person and virtually, drawn across all the international communities, notable among them are: the Senate President, FRN, Senators, and members of Health Committees of the National Assembly.

Others are ministers; serving Deputy Governors representing their Governors; traditional rulers;  members of the PSC, Health Committee Chairmen from the 36 State Houses of Assembly, Commissioners in charge of  Health matters from the 36 States and the FCT.

Also, office of the National Security Adviser, security agencies; paramilitary agencies, Heads of MDAs, members of the Diplomatic Corps, health and economic experts, key players in the private sector of Nigeria, the Media, Civil Society Organizations; and Development Partners were in attendance.

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