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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Nigeria collaborates with a Belgian company in biotechnology efforts

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The Nigerian government has announced its partnership with Univercells SA, a Belgian public limited liability company on the deployment of biotechnology to achieve the much anticipated turnaround in the country’s health sector.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, on Tuesday, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and the company in Brussels on his X handle.

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Mr Pate said the MoU focuses on “the adoption of biotechnology for Nigeria and aims to facilitate cooperation in establishing the necessary infrastructure, including training capabilities for local research, development, and manufacturing of medicines of both human and animal public health importance.”

He noted that this agreement represents “a major step forward in realising our ambition to save more lives and provide affordable healthcare for all Nigerians.”

Benefits for Nigeria

The minister said Univercells SA consists of Unizima SA, Quantoom Biosciences, Exothera, and RLM Consulting, noting that through the agreement, Nigeria aims to collaborate with the group to expedite the development of the biotech sector and revolutionise the availability and affordability of essential biotechnology products for its citizens.

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Mr Pate also noted that the partnership is in line with President Bola Tinubu’s initiative to unlock Nigeria’s health value chain and the restructuring of the nation’s health product manufacturing ecosystem to enhance domestic production of life-saving medicines, vaccines, and biologics.

“In pursuit of this goal, we have engaged with a diverse range of companies, both domestically and internationally, to foster the development of new biotech capabilities in Nigeria, including the creation of high-quality jobs in the health and pharmaceutical sectors,” he noted.

He said that over the past 12 weeks, the ministry has documented significant interest from both private and public firms in collaborating with Nigeria to drive the health sector renewal investment agenda and to positively transform the value chain.

Need for collaborations

The minister said for Mr Tinubu’s administration to achieve its goals, it has since begun collaborating with both private and public- national and international organisations, to reform the health sector.

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Mr Pate, in 2023, said one of his priorities is to strengthen governance and institutions under the health sector.

He noted that his leadership would ensure affordable and quality health outcomes by delivering preventive, promotive, and curative services at primary healthcare and hospitals across the country.

He also said quality health services will be provided by properly trained health workers, adding that medical industrialisation and unlocking the health value chains and job creations are also his key priorities.

Improving Nigeria’s health system

In 2023, Mr Tinubu’s administration said it would prioritise and improve Nigeria’s health system by investing and increasing grants for the sector in the 2024 budget.

Mr Tinubu revealed this during the unveiling of Nigeria’s health sector renewal investment initiative, which he noted is geared towards providing improved and quality health for all.

The President had noted that his administration would revamp the physical infrastructure, equip, and provide training for frontline health workers in 2024.

 

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