OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has mandated an adhoc Committee on Covid-19 to investigate the status of local medical and pharmaceutical research in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and other diseases in Nigeria.
It also mandated the committee to ascertain the operations of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for a home-grown approach in the war against Covid-19 and other diseases.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion presented by the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), during plenary on Tuesday.
Okechukwu said that out of about 4,911,720 confirmed coronavirus cases across the globe, Nigeria has witnessed over 6,000 confirmed cases with 191 deaths as at today (Tuesday).
He added that 472 laboratory cases of Lassa fever including 70 deaths were confirmed in 25 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between January 1 and February 9, 2020, while cholera remained a disease of grave public health concern in Nigeria and was associated with high morbidity and mortality in the country as well.
The fourth term lawmaker further, stated that various efforts were ongoing by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and world economies to curtail the effects of these diseases, with Madagascar already promoting a cure for covid-19, while Nigeria was still yet to look inwards for solutions.
He also revealed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that other agencies had received only one application for approval of a product for the treatment of symptoms of COVID-19, and not cure of the disease, a situation, he said, would have been different with a better coordination of government’s effort and funding for medical research.
According to Okechukwu, “the House is concerned that while countries are overwhelmed and occupied with their challenges, Nigeria appears to depend entirely on external interventions in the health sub-sector of our economy.
“The fact that Nigeria is endowed with qualified and talented scientists, who are capable of developing indigenous cures for the diseases.”
While adopting the motion, the House added that there was absolute “need for government’s action in assembling and mandating medical researchers towards developing indigenous solutions for our health care needs”.
The motion was passed and referred to the House adhoc Committee on Covid-19 to make adequate recommendations on remedial and sustainable measure for the sector and report back to the House within three weeks.