The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the sum of N253.4 million in grant to check the covid-19 pandemic and as well encourage research and innovation in the treatment of health conditions for Nigerian citizens. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, while presenting the grants to successful beneficiaries of the Health Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) on Tuesday in Abuja, said the intervention scheme as introduced by the bank was part of measures to support the growth of the Nigerian healthcare sector.
He further disclosed that a total of 68 proposals out of the 286 submissions received by the Body of Experts had been reviewed and evaluated with five proposals with significant merits valued at N253.54 million recommended by the experts for financing; adding that the recommended proposals also have the potential to enable the development of the Nigerian vaccine for COVID-19. Emefiele also stated that the grant award was a testimony to the significant role research and development in healthcare could play in supporting economic growth, particularly as growth was highly dependent on a strong and healthy workforce.
“A vibrant and innovative healthcare system is vital for the country’s national security, hence the need to encourage research and innovation in the treatment of health conditions for Nigerian citizens. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which had an unprecedented effect on the world economy, underscored the fact that a healthy and safe workforce remained critical for a continued economic growth as well as the stability of the financial system.
“The need to move from a consumer-based economy to a more productive economy necessitated the CBN’s development of intervention programmes and schemes across various sectors including the health sector and the facility aimed at strengthening the sector’s capacity to meet the increasing demand for healthcare products and services, particularly pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare value chain players intending to build or expand capacity,” the CBN helmsman revealed.
Also speaking at the event was Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, who commended the CBN for what he described as the modest efforts of the Bank at helping future generations to combat any outbreak of health pandemic. The SGF also disclosed that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and efficacious, and therefore urged members of the public to avail themselves the opportunity when the time to be vaccinated arises.
Furthermore, Dr Sen. Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health; and Prof. Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, who were present at the grants presentation ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja, said the HSRDIS was a step in the right direction in ensuring the vibrant and functional healthcare system as well as the socio-economic well-being of Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the CBN Governor also unveiled that 82 projects, valued at N85.89 billion, comprising of 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country had been financed through the HSRDIS. He, however, urged the grants recipients to judiciously utilize the opportunity offered to them by the bank and strive to achieve the purpose of their research by ensuring that their projects meet the set targets. Five recipients of the CBN HSRDIS grant award were Prof. Olufemi Emmanuel Dokun-Babalola, Prof. Okoli Ikechukwu, Dr. John Ogedengbe, Dr. Garba Uba and Dr. O’tega Ejofodomi.