The Federal Government of Nigeria has been advised by billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates to repair the health sector in the country, as that is more important than buying vaccines for COVID-19.

Gates said this when answering a question asked by The PUNCH on Tuesday during an interview with selected African journalists.

When asked if it was appropriate for Nigeria to spend such a huge sum of money on vaccine acquisition in the midst of other issues plaguing the health sector, Gates said,

“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.”
“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.”

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