As part of its policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced the Healthcare Care Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS).
This was made known by the Central Bank on its official website, 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.
Excerpts from the CBN official website: “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,’’.
Furthermore, it stated that the scheme was designed to boost the domestication of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce their bulk manufacturing cost in Nigeria.
The overall objective of the scheme according to the CBN is to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on other countries for those critical drugs and vaccines. In fact, 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,”
According to a report from NAN, the broad objectives of the 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.