The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) has said that vaccination is the best weapon and strategy with which to fight against COVID-19, urging Nigerians to take the vaccines “as they have all been proven to be very safe.”
AHBN Coordinator, Dr. Aminu Magashi, who stated this at the 5th Annual Conference of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) in Nasarawa State, noted that for Nigeria to expect full recovery from the pandemic, the government and policy makers must prioritise health.
Magashi, who spoke on “Nigeria’s COVID-19 Funding and Recovery Plan: The role of the media” called on the Federal Government to ensure efficient and transparent utilisation of all COVID-19 funds.
The AHBN boss, who was represented by the Senior Programme and Partnership Officer, Obinna Onuoha, noted that the COVID-19 funding and recovery plan touches the lives of all Nigerians, and as such the public should be adequately informed on how each penny is utilised.
He urged ANHEJ members to ensure they ask hard questions on the type, nature and duration of funding support for every recovery plan while the media should ensure that all Nigerians are well informed with facts.
With all the efforts underway towards recovery from COVID-19, the media stand front, line and centre in ensuring that all Nigerians are well-informed with the facts, what funding has been received and from whom, what plans from the government are in place to utilise these funds to provide quality health, what are the checks and balances to ensure these dedicated funds offer value for money, what are the steps taken to ensure all concerned parties are held accountable in the disbursement and utilisation of these funds, what are the feedback mechanisms from the beneficiaries of these health interventions, and how are the challenges and lessons carried forth for future reference, that we may learn from the past.
“In our ever-connected world, information is power, information is key. Therefore, as health journalists entrusted with the revered responsibility of providing answers to these questions, Nigerians look up to you as custodians of factual, verified and timely information.
“Every COVID-19 funding and recovery plan touches the lives of all Nigerians, and as such, we must ensure that the public is adequately carried along. If you have not heard it before, I say it to you now, you are saving millions of lives by the work that you d,” Magashi said.