Since the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has expended a total of 82 health projects with the sum of N85.89 billion.
The projects financed by the apex bank comprise 26 pharmaceuticals and 56 medical projects across the country.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele stated this in Abuja at the Award of Grants for the CBN’s Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme.
The HSRDIS was introduced with the release of the implementation guidelines and subsequent inauguration of the Scheme’s Body of Experts in July 2020.
The Scheme, which was part of the CBN’s policy response to the Coronavirus pandemic is aimed at prompting intense research and development activities towards developing vaccines and drugs against the spread of other communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Under the HSRDIS, grants are provided to researchers and healthcare institutions for the development of vaccines, drugs and herbal medicines, which could help curtail the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases.
The CBN Governor said the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the global economy, adding that a healthy and safe workforce is critical for continued economic growth as well as the stability of the financial system.
Emefiele said so far, over 286 proposals have been received from the general public by the Body of Experts.
Out of the 286 proposals, the apex bank boss said about 68 proposals have been evaluated, out of which five proposals with significant merits valued at N253.54million were recommended by the experts for financing.
He said some of the recommended proposals also have the potential to enable the development of the Nigerian vaccine for COVID-19.
The CBN Governor said while the review of proposals is still ongoing, the committee is expected to provide recommendations for an additional award of grants in due course.
He said the grant awards was a testimony to the significant role research and development in healthcare could play in supporting economic growth, particularly as growth is highly dependent on a strong and healthy workforce.
“Meeting our need for a strong and healthy workforce with better safety profile is a task that can only be addressed through a healthcare sector that provides for significant investments in Research and Development.
“A vibrant and innovative health care system is also vital for our national security; we all witnessed how several countries and territories adopted stringent and immediate export restrictions on critical medical supplies and drugs that were specifically meant to help countries respond to the spread of the virus.
“The CBN has over time emphasized the need for us to move from a consumer-based economy to a more productive economy. To this, the Bank has developed intervention programmes and schemes across various sectors including the health sector”, CBN governor Emefiele said.