COVID-19: Governments Have Performed Below Expectation – Lanre Suraj
The Deputy Coordinator, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (AS-CAB), Lagos, Mr Lanre Suraj, has advised federal, state and local governments in Nigeria to step up their game, reduce the cost of COVID-19 test and institute more efficient systems in the management of the global pandemic.
Suraj who spoke in an interview on Spirit of Nigeria Radio, an online platform focussed on Nigerians in the Diaspora, in its Covid Vaccine Country Review broadcast at the weekend rated the nation’s performance poorly stating that four million vaccines for a population of over 200 million was grossly inadequate and insignificant.
The AS – CAB helmsman further stated that one year after, Nigeria’s Covid 19 response has been characterised by under reporting of cases, recoveries and casualties with highly commercialised testing, bad experiences in public testing facilities and poor data gathering experiences.
Speaking further, Suraj queried the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine purchase cost, quantity and distribution declaring that at a price of less than $30, the cost of the COVID-19 Vaccine purchased by Federal Government, was sufficient to buy more doses.
According to Suraj, who is also the Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, “The four million doses of vaccine purchased compared to the Nigerian population of over 200 million people is embarrassing.”
He also condemned the current distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine in Nigeria, stating that people exposed to the Virus, people with underlying ailments and front line workers ought to be vaccinated before government officials or politicians whose number is very close to 2 million and will exhaust the number purchased in no time without getting to the ordinary citizens especially the elderly and considering the need to take two doses.
While conceding that the Vaccine acquired has been proven to be efficient, effective and affordable for Nigeria, he opined that the distribution deserves rethinking saying “If politicians and leaders are top on the vaccination list, nothing will be left for the citizens.”
He concluded that the exorbitant price of testing for Covid 19 is responsible for the increase in the number of cases, emphasising that people are pushed to procure fake Covid test results especially travellers who are billed way more than the actual test price.
He therefore urged Government to reduce the price for the Covid 19 test, noting that this will encourage many Nigerians to run the test and would facilitate more accurate data for COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.