- Bill Gates opined that the money earmarked for the purchase of vaccines will go a long way in improving the health care system
- The Microsoft Co-founder said a 5-year plan will be needed to help Nigeria in the development of COVID-19 vaccines
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Co-founder Microsoft and American Philanthropist, Bill Gates, has advised Nigeria on the need to resuscitate its weak and underfunded health sector especially the primary health care centres rather than spending too much on procuring COVID-19 vaccines.
Bill Gates said this while fielding questions from select African journalists during an interview.
“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,” Bill Gates said.
According to him, Nigeria could rely largely on groups like GAVI the Vaccine Alliance for the COVID-19 vaccines.
The philanthropist noted that investing in the primary health system would improve coverage and build Nigeria’s response in tackling other diseases.
He added: “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 be helping Nigeria in developing COVID-19 vaccines, Bill Gates said such a move would involve a five-year plan.