Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan and member of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Oyewusi Gureje has revealed that the country is not making adequate plans in the procurement of vaccines for its citizens unlike many African countries.
In an recent interview with Health Standard Journal, Prof Gureje who is also the Director for World Health Organisation (WHO), Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, Neuroscience, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, said that Nigeria is rather, waiting for donations from the WHO and other international health bodies.
“The first thing is we don’t know the level of supply we will be having in the county. Unfortunately, Nigeria has not been proactive as many other countries have been.
Some African countries have set in motion for procurement. Few days ago, the South African president took delivery of large supply of doses of vaccines which they have paid for.
But we are waiting for donations so we don’t really know how many we are getting and how soon,” he said.
Speaking on the first set of people that would get the jabs of the vaccines once it arrives; the mental health expert said: “Judging by the situation, we ought to give priority to those at the frontline providing care for people. Because one of the other negative consequences of the pandemic is that it deprives people of the care they need of other conditions because they don’t go there or the facilities are not available.
We need to open services by giving our providers priority with the vaccine and after then; we decide who’s next in line, depending on the access to the vaccine.
We should be targeting those who are at risk on the basis of their demography on their age, preexisting medical conditions that puts them at risk.
I don’t know how those people will be identified unless those that come to the hospitals because most people don’t visit the hospitals, most go to their villages or town, dying gradually without knowing the cause because they are not getting appropriate treatment.
So we may have to focus on how to identify the next group after the front line health providers. We ought to follow the same approach people are using everywhere in the world. We need to find a way to prioritize those who are elderly and those with preexisting conditions.”
The professor also mentioned that Nigeria doesn’t not have database of the number of death because many people have died in their villages and towns but only the prominent ones are known and recorded.
“We are lucky here that the virus has not hit us as hard as it could have, even though the statistics we have are not dependable. We know many more people are infected and many more have died. Nevertheless, irrespective of the fact that our statistics are not dependable and reliable, we still know the infection has not hit us very hard as it could have done.
So to the extent, one of the reasons is the predominance of young who may be able to overcome the infection without getting seriously ill,” he said.
More details on Health Standard Journal……….