By G9ija

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of its policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, introduces the Healthcare Care Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS).

The information is contained in the apex bank’s official website, http://www.cbn.gov.ng.

The bank stated that the intervention was to help strengthen public healthcare systems with innovative financing of research and development in new and improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

It said, “specifically HSRDIS is designed to trigger intense national Research and Development activities to develop a Nigerian vaccine, drugs and herbal medicines/medical devices against the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases.

“This will be done through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes.

“The grants will support research and development of drugs, herbal medicines/medical devices and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases,’’ it said.

It added that the scheme was designed to boost domestication of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce their bulk manufacturing cost in Nigeria.

According to CBN, the overall objective is to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on other countries for those critical drugs and vaccines.

It stated that the scheme would be funded from the development component of CBN’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF).

The scheme provided for a maximum of N50 million grant earmarked for research activities and a maximum of N500 million grant for development and manufacturing.

“Disbursement under the scheme shall be made to beneficiaries in tranches subject to approved milestones achieved.

“A Body of Experts (BoE) shall be responsible for the review and evaluation of submitted research proposals,” it added.

The broad objectives of scheme include: providing grants for R&D in new or revalidation of drug molecule, phytomedicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

Others are boosting domestic manufacturing of validated drugs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients or APIs), herbal medicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

Others are reduce the nation’s dependence on other countries for these drugs and vaccines; improving the capacity of the biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes in the development of approved Nigerian drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines for infectious diseases; among others.