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Malaria vaccine breakthrough excites ex-diplomat



A former diplomat, Dr Nnamdi Onochie, said on Sunday that the reported breakthrough in malaria vaccines should convince Nigerians that every problem has an expiration date.

Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Onochie said the discovery of a vaccine to tackle malaria should serve as a reminder to Nigerians never to give up on any problem or untoward situation.

According to him, malaria has been killing millions of people from year to year but the discovery of a vaccine by the UK Oxford University Parasitology Research Programme will put the scourge in check.

Citing a news report that says that malaria vaccine with 75 per cent efficacy rate has been found, Onochie said that after decades of contending with malaria, humanity would finally heave a sigh of relief on the disease.

The former envoy to Algeria and the Philippines said “Nigerians should take a lesson from this development and realise that every problem, no matter how long, will eventually get a cure no matter how long it takes.”

He explained that tin spite of the ravaging effects of COVID-19, more people in Nigeria and other African countries had died from malaria from year to year more than the number of people who had so far succumbed to COVID-19.

“Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19, malaria has killed more people, especially children in Africa.

“We must be happy with this development on malaria. I urge governments in the African continent to aim for earlier rollout of the vaccine, to increase good health and prosperity of our people.

“In this age and period of COVID-19, Nigerians have seen truly how and why health is wealth. If you are not well and your health is dwindling, you cannot prosper.

“It is in the light of the foregoing that Nigeria’s National Health Policy requires complete re-jigging.”

He advised the Federal Government to give more attention to the health sector and ensure that Nigerians, especially children, pregnant women and the elderly, received healthcare free of charge.

The political stalwart, who restated his desire to serve his fatherland at the highest level in 2023, said he would enunciate policies that would give free medical services to every Nigerian.

He added that “I will insist on full funding of medical programmes to prevent and stop strikes and work stoppages, while encouraging state governments to follow the same path.

“Nigerians should believe in the indivisible oneness of our nation.”

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