Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates has called on the Federal Government to prioritize fixing the nation’s dilapidated hospitals instead of acquiring plenty COVID-19 vaccines.
Gates was speaking to select African journalists on Tuesday when he made this statement.
In December, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire told the House of Senate that no fewer than N400 billion was needed to vaccinate about 70% of the over 200 million population.
When the Punch quizzed him about his take on the Federal Government spending that humongous amount on COVID-19 vaccines, he said “Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID vaccines.”
The philanthropist added, “The key thing would be, Nigeria is still GAVI eligible and so for a lot of those vaccines, they will come through this GAVI facility that we raise money for and health in Nigeria is generally underfunded.”
“If you look at the primary health centres in the North, in particular if you look at the vaccine coverage rates, there are literally millions of lives that can be saved if the primary health system operates at a level that some other countries at the same wealth of Nigeria if the system was this good.”
“So, I am an advocate for the government to have more resources and prioritise health. Obviously, I am not a voter in Nigeria so Nigeria can decide that independently. My advice is (that) the primary health care system is what is super important.”