By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Prof. Okolo disclosed that the sub-region was also looking at locally manufacturing its test kits rather that continuously procuring from abroad, adding that WAHO will provide support to institutions conducting such researches.
“At the moment, the one industry that is definitely looking at diagnostic test is the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal and we have signed an MoU with them and we have put some seed funding aside which we will invest in them.
“We are looking at about two dollars or three dollars, whereas you find that the similar test kit in the open market is about 9 dollars or 10 dollars.
“We are really trying as much as possible to go strategically to ensure that we support our West African region but also we broker easy purchase at competitive price for all our 15 countries,” he said.
“We cannot do all these with only foreign partners funding us, therefore domestic health financing is really key.
“We need to ensure that budgets meet the 15 per cent Abuja declaration.
“We understand that if you have countries like Mali spending about 25 per cent of their budgets on Security how much more have they got to share in order to get that 15 per cent.
“That is why in WAHO we have also been advocating with the external world, the forgiveness of public debt.
“But we still have to come back to the fact that we ourselves have to look at how we can improve domestic financing and ensure that every dollar is utilised appropriately.,” he said.