The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, have commended the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and several other stakeholders for their dedication and commitment to success in the fight against COVID-19 vaccination.
Also, the executive director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, appreciated the doggedness and sacrifices of healthcare workers and the support of donor agencies who contributed, financially and otherwise, to the significant successes achieved.
In his remarks at an event to celebrate the achievements in COVID-19 vaccination at the weekend in Abuja, Shuaib said the success recorded was due to the support from the president and other stakeholders, notably, traditional and religious leaders, as well as the media.
He also appreciated the support of the US government in vaccine provisions and other support.
He, however, disclosed that Nigeria had exceeded the expectations and the target it set for itself regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
“At the beginning of the exercise, we told Nigerians that, by December 2022, we would have covered 70 per cent of the eligible population.
“Now, we are at the point where we have fully vaccinated about 53 per cent of the eligible population and 63 per cent of the population with the first dose.
“Going by the available figure, we are doing very well. We never expected that we would achieve the feat, given the fact that we have issues with infrastructure and inadequate manpower. We have reached 54 million Nigerians with full vaccination and over 60 million people with the first shot of the vaccine,” he explained.
The Ooni of Ife said the success, as shown by the data, was a shock and surprise to the world as the country was hitherto included in the list of countries that would fail in the fight against COVID-19. “For me,”, he began, “this success is under-celebrated. People often think that nothing good can ever come out of Nigeria, but we disappointed them during this period. We all stood up during the challenges of COVID-19, hence the success being celebrated today. We were written off but we surprised the world.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammed Mera, appreciated the leadership style of the Presidential Steering Committee led by the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, which led to the success.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Mr. Joseph Ekumankama said the improved data for vaccination indicated that deaths from COVID-19 have reduced drastically in Nigeria.
Mustapha cautioned that, despite the lifting of COVID-19-related sanctions by the Federal Government, Nigerians must be responsible for their health.
In her speech, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard disclosed that, over the period, her country’s government supported Nigeria’s vaccination drive with millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
She promised that the US government will continue to work with NPHCDA and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of Nigerians.