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COVID:19 Summit: Stakeholders lambast FG over lack of communique one month after

By Dan-Maryam Zayamu

For failing to release the communique one month after the National COVID-19 Summit was held, stakeholders in the health sector have accused the federal government of being the cause of the woes the Nigeria’s health sector is current facing.
They expressed their  concern and anger over what they described as “unnecessary delay” by the federal government to release a comprehensive communique that will chat  the way forward in the effort to  end the  COVID-19 pandemic.
It would be recalled that the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in December 2021, organised a 2-day National COVID-19 Summit in Abuja, with the aim of ensuring that Nigeria bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger.
The summit was with the theme: Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better.
The summit had five main objectives which include reviewing the country’s COVID-19 response from February 2020 to November 2021- to identify successes, gaps, and lessons to be learnt; identify resources and develop strategies that will actualize the country’s expressed international commitments towards ending COVID-19 by 31st December 2022; and develop an Accountability Framework for COVID-19 response and health security in Nigeria.Other objectives of the summit include to synthesize the blueprint for Nigeria’s pandemic recovery, reconstruction, health security, and sustainability; and articulated actionable recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on the governance structure, resources, and policies needed to end COVID-19 in Nigeria by 31st December 2022, and build back the health system and the economy to better respond to future health-security threats.However, one month after the summit, the federal government is yet to release a communique chronicling what transpired and the next step of action.
Responding to questions from our correspondent, some stakeholders in the health sector accused the federal government for all the woes in the health sector.
“I cant understand why one month after the National COVID-19 Summit, the communique is yet to come out. How long will it take the organisers to put down the communique and release it so that stakeholders and other critical partners will know the way forward.
“Most times, the federal government behaves as if it is anti-Nigerians. COVID-19 is still with us, hence, any effort that will be made to end it should be taken serious.
“I, therefore, called on the federal government through the PSC to, as a matter of urgency, release the communique so that the health sector and indeed, the plan to end COVID-19 in the country can progress,” says Dr. Kola Thomas, a Niger State-based health expert.
However, speaking to the youth, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media on the need to support the government to implement the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) plan, the Coordinator of African Health Budget Network (AHBN), in Abuja, Wednesday, Dr. Aminu Magashi, lamented that COVID-19 affected the implementation of the plan.
He noted that because of the huge effect of COVID-19 on RMNCAEH+N, the issue was a major topic of discussion during the recently concluded National COVID-19 Summit.
While expressing optimism that the federal government will soon provide a direction on how other critical stakeholders can support it to strengthen health security in the country, Dr. Magashi called for support from all to ensure that the RMNCAEH+N is implemented to the later.
“We just concluded the National Covid-19 summit in December in which the RMNCAEH+N plan was discussed.
“The summit has brought so many issues to tighten health security. This is because health security is the major challenge in Africa to ensure that we are able to control the outbreak of diseases to the barest minimum.
“On the COVID-19 summit, we hope that before the end of this month, we will have some direction on how we can support the federal government to strengthen health security in the country,” Dr. Magashi said.
It would be recalled that during the 2-day National COVID-19 Summit, speaking on behalf of CSOs in Nigeria, Dr. Magashi assured that the CSOs would support federal government implement the outcome of the Summit.
According to him,  the CSOs attached great importance to the summit which was aimed at assessing the effort of Nigeria in the COVID-19 response and ensuring health security.
 “I want to assure Nigerians that CSOs in the country are fully committed  to support the Federal government and the PSC to implement the recommendations that will come out of this summit.
“I want assure the PSC chair that the CSOs are going to be around in the journey ahead.  The same way we supported the federal government to organise the summit, we will be around throughout the journey to support the government to implement the recommendations,” Dr. Magashi stressed.

Written by ExpressDay

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