President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the international community to support collaborations and initiatives aimed at sharing knowledge from research and science to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
He spoke on Wednesday at a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 co-hosted by the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The Nigerian leader told the summit, co-hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, and Senegal President and co-chair of FOCAC Macky Sall, that Nigeria would support and join any joint and collective action plan.
Buhari said as the world faces a common pervasive and invisible enemy, it is important that countries remain united to save our shared humanity.
He said the fight requires enhanced cooperation and worldwide solidarity.
“We must learn lessons and share knowledge from research, as we develop more creative, responsive and humane health systems, improve crisis management protocols and support each other in the battle against COVID-19,’’ he said.
He commended the Chinese government, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the World Health Organization for the respective actions and measures to help developing and middle-income countries in Africa to tackle the pandemic.
The president praised the Secretary-General, for launching the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for low and middle-income countries to tackle the health emergency, address social and economic consequences of the crisis and, strengthen the recovery efforts of most vulnerable countries.
Buhari hailed the WHO for its advice that enabled Nigeria to take measures and enlighten its people on steps to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
He also provided an update on what his administration has done since the tragedy of the global pandemic hit the country.
Buhari said from the outset of the pandemic, Nigeria instituted strong surveillance and infection prevention as well as control measures and made provisions to strengthen its testing capacities.
He stated that several well-equipped treatment and isolation centers were set up across the country to increase bed capacity.
”In the spirit of international collaboration, medical experts in Nigeria participated by video link in learning and experience-sharing exercises organized by experts from various countries, including China”.
The President said the Nigerian Government had trained several thousand healthcare workers, provided Personal Protective Equipment to ensure the safety of frontline workers, and offered incentives for their motivation.
He added that the Federal Government created the enabling environment for farmers to safely plant and harvest during this rainy season in order to ensure that food security was not compromised.
“We took steps for prompt transportation of agricultural products and food items from rural production areas to the consumers and to industrial processing zones. We have also developed practical policies to protect lives and livelihoods”, Buhari noted
Speaking, President Xi said the summit was convened to discuss a joint response to COVID-19 and renew fraternity with Africa.
He said the world must mobilise resources and do whatever it takes to protect lives, adding that China will do whatever it can to support the procurement of supplies, sending medical experts, and in other diverse ways.
Noting that China and Africa account for nearly one-third of the global population, President Xi pledged to step up support for Africa.
Xi disclosed that China will provide 2billion USD over two years to support the work of WHO in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.