The Nigerian government through the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has disclosed plans to hold a national COVID-19 summit as part of efforts to end the pandemic by 2022.
The summit is scheduled to hold from December 6 to 8, 2021.
The National Incident Manager of PSC, Mukhtar Muhammad, made this known on Monday at the ministerial press briefing update on COVID-19 response and development in the health sector.
Mr Muhammad said the summit will focus on strategic ways to end the pandemic and prepare for future biological threats in the country.
Mr Muhammad noted that the theme of the summit is “Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better.”
The sub-themes of the summit, according to Mr Muhammad include; “Leadership and Governance in Pandemic Recovery and Reconstruction” and “Nigeria’s Health Security Framework for Effective Response to Global Health Security Threats.”
The incident manager explained that the event will provide a forum for presentations and brainstorming on the review of the country’s COVID-19 response from February 2020 to November 2021, to identify successes, gaps, and lessons learnt and to identify resources and develop strategies that will actualise the country’s expressed international commitments towards ending COVID-19 by December 31, 2022.
“To develop an accountability framework for COVID-19 response and health security in Nigeria; To synthesize the blueprint for Nigeria’s pandemic recovery, reconstruction, health security, and sustainability; and to articulate actionable recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on the governance structure, resources, and policies needed to end COVID-19 in Nigeria by December 31, 2022, and build back the health system and the economy to better respond to future health-security threats,” he said.
He noted that the summit will go a long way to demonstrate Nigeria’s readiness to action her international commitments, aimed at bolstering the confidence and support of international development partners.
“Moreover, it will set the tone to strengthen our health system and bio-security architecture to be able to effectively respond to present and future global health security threats,” he added.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ifedayo Adetifa, said countries in Europe have reintroduced some restrictions due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Mr Adetifa, who was represented by the Head of Risk Communication at the NCDC, Yahaya Disu, said COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in Austria, Netherlands, UK, Germany, and Italy.
“We must note that these are regions with considerably high vaccination rates, however, they are seeing surges in COVID-19, leading to the decision to make vaccinations mandatory (Austria) to counter the opportunity or transmission of the virus which unvaccinated persons pose.
“I mention these to inform you that COVID-19 is still causing havoc in other countries, and we must not take our situation for granted.
“Rather, we must continue to use preventive measures, safeguard our health and take responsibility. We can work together as we have done in this long-haul response to COVID-19,” he said.
He encouraged Nigerians to consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if they were yet to, noting that it was safe and effective and would reduce the occurrences of severe disease and deaths.
“Just last week, we had the national flag-off of the mass vaccination campaign and we are ensuring that these safe and effective vaccines which have been successfully received get into the arms of Nigerians.
“There are now strategic vaccination sites around the FCT,” he said.