Bill Gates says Nigeria should not divert the very limited money it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID vaccines.

American philanthropist and Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates has advised the Federal Government to focus more on revitalising its health sector rather than spending its limited money on COVID-19 vaccines. 

Gates said this during an interview with select African journalists on Tuesday. January 26, 2021, Punch reports.

He said, “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system particularly the primary healthcare system will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives and you are absolutely right.

“Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID vaccines.”blob:

It would be recalled that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire had in December 2020, said that Nigeria would need over N400bn to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population. 

The philanthropist maintained that investing in the primary health system would improve coverage and build Nigeria’s response in tackling other diseases.

Gates also advised the FG to rely largely on groups like GAVI the Vaccine Alliance for COVID-19 vaccines.

He said, “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.”

When asked if his foundation would help Nigeria in developing COVID-19 vaccines, the philanthropist said such a move would involve a five-year plan, Punch reports.

Source: Pulse Nigeria

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