The Federal Government has challenged corporate organizations in the country to scale up efforts at sponsoring researches to develop a local cure for the COVID-19.
Government equally tasked scientists and researchers in the country to put forward their discoveries for validations.
Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on Covid-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the charge Tuesday in Abuja during the commissioning of the Thisday Dome Temporary Treatment and Isolation Centre.
The 300-bed facility which is scalable to 500-beds has a 54gene laboratory for tests and was jointly donated by Sahara Energy Group and the ThisDay Media and Technology Group. Other key players include the CA-COVID, the AFC, CCECC, NNPC and the CBN.
The facility also has an intensive care unit for the treatment of the most severe cases of Covid-19 and has made provisions to care for persons living with disabilities who might get infected.
He said; “As we continue to develop health infrastructure, the PTF also wishes to underscore its total commitment to research into a cure for the COVID-19 disease. We are actively encouraging all our institutes and researchers to step forward for a validation of their inventions, discoveries, etc that can help humanity bring this pandemic to a quick end. Again, we urge our corporate bodies to show sufficient interest in the areas of research and medicine.
“The PTF therefore calls on other corporate bodies and public-spirited individuals to take up the challenge of providing critical support infrastructure in the rural communities as Nigeria has entered community transmission phase of the pandemic”, he said.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Godwin Emefiele on his part pledged the readiness of the apex bank to provide long-term facilities for researchers interested in working a cure for the COVID-19.
He said; “In order to encourage greater research and development in Nigeria of drugs and vaccines that would help prevent the spread of the virus, the CBN is developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop the Nigerian Vaccine. Needless to state that if we are to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, we will be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for our teeming population.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria today challenges Nigerian scientists at home and in the diaspora to go back to their laboratories and develop a Nigerian vaccine.
“Once validated by the Health Authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful for the sake of over 200 million Nigerians now confronted by COVID-19.
“Our inability to accurately predict the extent to which the coronavirus could spread, and how long it would last, requires that we build sufficient capacity within our health system in order to contain the spread of the virus, state by state, city by city and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.
This requires that we all come together to support the ‘work of the Presidential Task Force in it’s determination to save lives and stem the pandemic. It is in this regard that I would like to commend the Nigerian private sector, who have come together under the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID) to support the government, by raising funds to procure needed Isolation Centres, medical equipment, etc. So far, the CA-COVlD-19 has raised up to N27 Billion to fund these initiatives. These donations are being used to build well-equipped isolation centres across the 36 states of the federation”, he added.
On his part, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said with the growing cases of community transmission, there is a need to continue to provide more bed spaces to isolate and treat patients.
He said, “the Thisday Dome Temporary Treatment and Isolation Centre has the Sahara Foundation Wards and ICU Centre complete with Ventilators, X-Ray and Dialysis; the Thisday 54gene Testing Mobile Lab complete with reagents – with scalable 200 – 1000 tests per day; the Thisday 98-Room Hotel and Conference Centre next door for medical staff for 6 months; as well as the CBN Medical Grant in direct support to the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA for day to day management of the Isolation Centre”.