Advocates moves for vaccine production
By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – THE over dependence on foreign made vaccines coupled with attendant conspiracy theories has been attributed to being part of the reason why there is resistance to accepting vaccines for covid-19 pandemic by most Africans and countries.
But to correct this, the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) has begun an advocacy and collaboration among African countries and universities to begin researches into production vaccines for covid-19 and expected future diseases.
Addressing a press conference in Benin City, Edo State yesterday ahead of a workshop to initiate processes that would lead to production of vaccines in Africa, Executive Director of CoDA Ms Souad Aden-Osman said an Independent Task Team on the Development of Vaccines and Equitable Universal Access to Vaccines and Vaccination in Africa would launched on the day of workshop adding that the launch is to ensure that measures were designed to the prepare the African continent to face any global health challenge that might break out in the future.
She said “The development of vaccines and the improvement of the health care system should be private sector-driven with the government in African countries coming together to create an enabling environment. We must make sure the private sector comes in forcefully. We need to believe in ourselves. The same energy used to chase out colonial masters should be used to battle the pandemic and any future health challenge.
“Technology is now simplified and I am sure that Africa has the scientists to drive this course. We will also need to partner with scientists from other parts of the world to record success. The environment, lack of electricity and some other problems should not hinder our desire to provide lasting solutions to health problems in Africa.
“Already countries like Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Senegal have the capacity to produce vaccines while so many others are ready to also be part of it. The current pandemic should trigger the need to work together because if it doesn’t, I don’t know what will,” she added.
President of the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria, Mansur Ahmed said the continent has the capacity to produce what we need and consume what we produce if the right steps are taken.
He said: “African countries must scale up their capacity to produce so import will be less and trade between the continent and the rest of the world will become equitable. Governments all over Africa should work together to grow as covid-19 has shown or else we will find ourselves in the same situation when we have to wait for medical help when the next health issue arises.
“Nigerians are part of vaccine production all over Europe and the US. This is the right opportunity to begin to build the right partnerships and environment so that the next big health challenge does not see us waiting on other nations for solutions.”