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Health

FG to establish responsive National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System

The Minister revealed that the FG has launched a couple of programmes towards solving UHC challenges in Nigeria.

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Minster for health, FG ignores travel ban calls despite Uganda, US, others move against coronavirus, FG reports 10 new cases of COVID-19, COVID-19: FG to inaugurate 18-man vaccine task team, , FG to establish responsive National Emergency Medical service and Ambulance System - Minister

The Federal Government is setting up a plan to launch a responsive National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System in a bid to improve universal healthcare for Nigerians.

This was disclosed by the Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, at the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) conference themed “Accelerating Universal Health Coverage.”

The Minister revealed that the FG has launched a couple of programmes towards solving UHC challenges in Nigeria including the provision of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

READ: Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi

He added that the FG plans to launch mandatory health insurance to ensure the implementation of stable public health financing.

“We believe our initiative will result to financial protection against catastrophic health expenditure, equity in resource distribution for healthcare and provision of healthcare services relative to needs, consequently, quickly propelling the country towards UHC,” he said.

The Health Minister also said the FG plans to launch a National emergency service which would be at no cost to Nigerians.

READ: 109 million Nigerians to be vaccinated in 2 years – NPHCDA

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“As part of efforts towards UHC, we are also working toward establishing functional and responsive National Emergency Medical service and Ambulance System across the country to ensure that emergencies are properly taken care of.

“This service will be at no cost to the end-users. Additionally, we are working toward revamping tertiary healthcare services across the country, including an active partnership with the private sector for the attainment of quality health care,” he added.

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In case you missed it: The Lagos State Government stated that the state is currently providing free health insurance to 40,000 residents in recognition of the economic status of many Lagosians especially the less privileged.

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Coronavirus

FG explains how the Covid-19 vaccines work and their composition

The NPHCDA Director said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action.

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The Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has explained the composition of the Covid-19 vaccines and how they work.

This is as some of them have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) and some countries, while others are still at different phases of clinical trials for possible approval.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this insight was given by the Executive Director/Chief Executive of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who said there were several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

READ: African Union signs deal for 400 million Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine

He said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action such as the inactivated or weakened virus vaccines.

He explained that the idea behind the formulation of an inactivated or weakened virus vaccine is to elicit an immune response without causing the disease itself. Shuaib also said there were protein-based vaccines, which used harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that mimic the Covid-19 virus to safely generate an immune response.

He added that the viral vector vaccines used a virus that had been genetically engineered to produce coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response and not give rise to the disease.

Going further, Shuaib pointed out that the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) vaccines employed a cutting-edge approach that used genetically engineered RNA or DNA to generate a protein that safely prompted an immune response.

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READ: China publicly presents its COVID-19 vaccines, 2 doses to cost below $146

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that on March 2, 2021, Nigeria received the first set of about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute in India and shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
  • A few days ago, the Executive Director of NPHCDA disclosed that a total of 8,491 Nigerians have reacted adversely to the AstraZeneca inoculation since the exercise began on March 15.
  • He said that Nigeria recorded 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFI), presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
  • About 1.09 million Nigerians have so far been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

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Covid-19: WHO opposes proof of vaccination for international travel

According to the WHO, countries should know that requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement.

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The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee has opposed the request of proof of vaccination as a condition of entry for international travel.

This is due to the limited evidence on whether vaccination against Covid-19 is able to reduce the transmission of the disease and the persistent inequity in the global distribution of the vaccine.

This disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the WHO after the seventh meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which was convened by the global health body’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

READ: Covid-19: FG discloses why it is pausing vaccinations soon in some states

The recommendation by the WHO’s Emergency Committee is coming as various countries are considering the idea of launching vaccine passports for travellers and for other activities including sports.

The Committee said that countries should know that requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement.

The statement from the WHO’s Emergency Committee partly reads, “Do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution.

“States Parties are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the potential for requirements of proof of vaccination to deepen inequities and promote differential freedom of movement.’’

READ: COVID-19: Over 700 thousand Nigerians vaccinated in March

The statement also pointed out the following:

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  1. Prioritize vaccination for seafarers and aircrews in line with the Joint statement on prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers and aircrew. Special attention should be paid to seafarers who are stranded at sea and who are stopped from crossing international borders for crew change due to travel restrictions, including requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination, to ensure that their human rights are respected.
  2. Implement coordinated, time-limited, risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for health measures in relation to international traffic, in line with WHO guidance and IHR provisions. If States Parties implement quarantine measures for international travellers on arrival at their destination, these measures should be based on risk assessments, and consider local circumstances.
  3. Reduce the financial burden on international travellers for the measures applied to them for the protection of public health (e.g. testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination), in accordance with Article 40 of the IHR.
  4. Share information with WHO on the effects of health measures in minimizing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during international travel to inform WHO’s development of evidence-based guidelines.

What you should know

  • The European Union member states have already agreed on vaccine certificates, China has launched a health certificate program for travellers, and airline companies are also considering requiring vaccination proof.
  • The US had earlier this month said that it would not require vaccination passports but added that the private sector was free to explore the idea.
  • The WHO, for now, has only approved 3 vaccines for the coronavirus—the one manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine made in India and South Korea, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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