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The Cable: Consider deploying final year medical students - Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank lists all Nigeria needs to battle COVID-19

Published on 10 April, 2020, TheCable Online Newspaper



The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank has identified the seven items Nigeria needs urgently from the outside world and from all those who wish to help Nigeria at this time.

According to the think tank led by Atedo Peterside, former chairman of Stanbic IBTC, Nigeria needs test kits, molecular laboratories and skilled personnel, surgical face masks and cloth face coverings, personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel.

Other needs identified are workforce redeployment, respirators/ventilators, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, and other drugs.

The think tank, with eminent members like Mathew Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic diocese, Sokoto; Leo Stan Ekeh, billionaire chairman of Zinox Technology, believe that a safety net with handouts to 40 million unemployed and underemployed Nigerians is also be needed.

Explaining further, the COVID-19 Think Tank said the country should “consider deploying final year medical and nursing students, retirees, and unemployed health professionals of all grades”.

“Accept assistance from all countries that have had success in controlling the spread of COVID-19, particularly in the area of training of local manpower.”

On drug needs, the foundation said “some anecdotal reports suggest a benefit of Hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin in the treatment of COVID-19. Clinical trials are underway to determine the role if any of these drugs in the treatment of the infection”.

They suggested that Nigeria’s “pharmaceutical industry should monitor this situation and be prepared to increase production of these drugs should clinical evidence suggest they are of value”.


As far as safety nets go, the statement signed by Peterside and Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, director of the Centre for Democratic Development Research and Training (CEDDERT), dietary and monetary donations are needed.

“This should be synchronised with efforts from the government, private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), religious organizations, and grass roots political structures of the local governments to ensure the most effective coverage.

“Consider engaging traditional rulers when appropriate, who through their networks of village heads can identify impacted families and effectively organise distribution. 

“Direct purchase of food from farms and farmers will have dual effect of providing lower priced food thereby boosting supply for the needy, while also providing needed support for farmers. Accountability in all this spending is critical.”

The think tank aims “act as a catalyst to enhance authorities’ response to COVID-19 and mobilize stakeholders around a coherent and effective action plan”.