The federal executive council (FEC) has approved procurement contracts for the ministry of health, including N3 billion for a new vaccine laboratory.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, announced this on Wednesday after the FEC meeting.
Ehanire said a total of N8.6 billion was for the construction of a vaccine laboratory, purchase of equipment for six laboratories, and test kits for HIV and syphilis.
He explained that the new laboratory was needed to aid the production of vaccines in the country.
The minister also said procuring the test kits would help drive down the rate of transmission of HIV.
“The ministry of health presented three memos, which were all approved. One of them was for the procurement of test kits for HIV/AIDS,” he said.
“As you all know, Nigeria has succeeded in driving down the HIV prevalence from 3% to 1.3%. The nationality indicator and the impact survey was done recently, now we want to push it further down by being able to do more testing, particularly of mothers who may be carrying HIV and they don’t know it, and they can pass it on to their unborn children.
“That’s sort of called the prevention of mother-to-child transmission and also without routine tests that will be done on people who may have absolutely no symptom at all, but are carrying HIV virus.
“So, these are the test kits we are procuring, and we’re also including those test kits that can also detect syphilis. Syphilis, as you all know, is another sexually transmitted disease. So, this memo was presented today and passed by council.
“The other two were memos from NAFDAC. One of them was a memo that was meant to buy equipment for six laboratories in the country and the memo was also passed without any question. It’s to update and upgrade the laboratories of NAFDAC.
“The third one is a new vaccine laboratory that will help us when we start manufacturing vaccines. As you know, NAFDAC is a regulatory organ and their job is to test the vaccines that are produced, whether they are fit or not. In order to do that, they must have laboratory. They must have the WHO approval of what we call the ‘Maturity Level 3’.
“So, they are working on getting Maturity Level 3 by having laboratories, including animal house and the remodeling of the existing facilities. So, those are the three memos that came to council.
“For the vaccine laboratory, it’s N3,064,582,050.01. For the laboratory equipment, it’s N1,262,269,939. For the kits, they are N4,347,500,000.”