WHO nominates Ethiopia to set up vaccine factories

Ethiopia and other five countries selected to set up vaccine factories

African CDC annual meeting  kicked off in Kigali, Rwanda and the member states of CDC health ministers are among the participants.

Africa is highly dependent on donors, through Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) facility.

Supply of the doses was however halted following a surge of infections in India.

However, vaccine supply inequity will be a thing of the past with the establishment of vaccine plants in Africa.

Experts and leaders in the continent have resolved to establish a local vaccine manufacturing plant to fight future pandemics.

The manufacture of the vaccines will enable Africa to be self-sufficient and fight diseases, instead of depending on donor supplies.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC) has mapped out six countries for vaccine manufacture.

The countries identified include Rwanda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Algeria.
South Africa is already manufacturing vaccines.

Dr Adelheid Onyango, WHO Director of Universal Health Coverage, in Africa has said the establishment of manufacturing plants will also guarantee a fight against future pandemics.

WHO is working towards improving regulatory capacities for the countries, through Africa Medicines Agency, which was established last year.

The role of the agency is to harmonise the regulatory system for medical products in the African continent, and enable smooth approval processes and improve pharmaceutical production.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we realised that depending on other people could not bring instant solutions.

WHO is looking at the manufacturing capacity of the continent, and several working institutions to improve regulatory capacities,” said Dr Onyango.

Shortage in supply of the vaccines was also coupled with vaccine nationalism, an issue that contributed to deaths, and mutation of the Covid-19 virus.

A number of low-income countries were supplied with vaccines, with low shelf-life.

“As time goes by, we need to focus on what the African continent can do in manufacturing vaccines.

The summit brought together experts in a bid to find solutions for Africa’s vaccine supply, and how to handle Covid-19 and future pandemics.

Africa CDC also has plans of establishing diagnostic laboratories and therapeutic services. 

Data by Africa CDC reveals that a total of 973 million doses were administered in Africa, with only 50 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, against WHO’s target of 70 per cent.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

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