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Home News UK Assures Nigeria and others £105 million to Tackle Omicron
News - December 31, 2021

UK Assures Nigeria and others £105 million to Tackle Omicron

The British High Commission in Abuja stated that vital aid will be delivered through trusted partners such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom (UK) Liz Truss, has assured up to £105 million in emergency aid to help vulnerable African countries including Nigeria combat the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The British High Commission in Abuja released a statement on the subject yesterday. It stated that vital aid will be delivered through trusted partners such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), emphasising that testing rates are still low, allowing health systems to better track and respond to the virus’ spread.

This is in addition to the UK’s world-leading genetic sequencing support, according to the government.

The help will also increase access to oxygen supplies for ventilators, as a jump in demand for oxygen poses a serious threat to some countries.

It was announced that the UK had met its goal to give 30 million coronavirus vaccine doses by the end of 2021, one year after the UK became the first country to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Foreign Secretary Truss said, “The UK is providing vital assistance to help tackle the spread of new variants around the world. This is key to securing our freedom and ending this pandemic once and for all. I am proud that we have also delivered over 30 million vaccines to benefit our friends around the world this year. The UK is helping other countries most in need. No one is safe until everyone is safe”.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid also commented on the aid, “The global pandemic has challenged health systems around the world and the best way to overcome this awful disease is to unite and stand side by side with our international partners. By supporting countries with the UK’s groundbreaking science and research into the spread of variants, improving access to oxygen and scaling up testing we will help those most in need chart their course out of the pandemic. I am proud that we have already delivered over 30 million vaccines to our friends abroad. The UK, as a global leader, is helping other countries most in need. No one is safe until everyone is safe”.

The assistance will provide hygiene education, goods, and access to handwashing stations to communities, as well as support deep cleaning in schools, health centres, and other public areas. This will build on the success of the global cleanliness campaign launched by UK Aid and Unilever in 2020, which has reached over 1.2 billion people.

It will support ground-breaking science and research in the UK investigating some of the African countries including Nigeria for the spread of variations such as Omicron. This will allow for creative evidence-based policy responses.

The measures would also prepare the UK’s own professional emergency teams for deployment internationally to crisis regions, including with new medical equipment, according to the statement.

“The government has also confirmed today that over 30 million vaccines have been delivered so far as part of the UK’s pledge to donate 100 million doses to the world, benefitting more than 30 countries, including Nigeria.

Doses donated by the UK have reached four continents including some African countries like Nigeria, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda to provide vital protection from the new Omicron variant. 

COVAX has received 24.6 million pills for distribution to countries and 5.5 million doses have been shared directly with countries in need out of the more than 30 million doses donated so far. Through COVAX in 2021, the UK has donated approximately 1.2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to Nigeria. In 2022, millions more vaccinations, including 20 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses and 20 million Janssen doses, will be shipped to Nigeria and other countries.

The United Kingdom has been at the vanguard of the international response to Covid-19. Today’s announcement builds on the £1.3 billion in UK funding pledged to the worldwide health response early in the pandemic, which helped developing nations with vaccines, health systems, and economic recovery. The UK government has also funded over £88 million in the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s development, and the UK was the first country in the world to approve the vaccine a year ago.

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