April 4, 2024

Tinubu to Gavi CEO: Nigerian manufacturers capable, ready to produce vaccines

Tinubu to Gavi CEO: Nigerian manufacturers capable, ready to produce vaccines
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

President Bola Tinubu has called on Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to collaborate with potential Nigerian vaccine manufacturers to ensure equitable access to life-saving vaccines for children and adults.

Speaking at a meeting with a delegation of GAVI led by its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sania Nishtar, at the State House, on Thursday, President Tinubu said partnership on local vaccine production has become necessary owing to the challenges faced by developing countries, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious disease outbreaks.

”We have capable and talented people who can make the necessary contributions to the production of vaccines in Nigeria and the rest of Africa,’’ the President told the visiting CEO, who assumed office on March 18, 2024, and has embarked on visits to some African countries.

The President assured GAVI CEO of Nigeria’s commitment to fulfilling its outstanding counterpart contributions for routine vaccines for the year 2023.

He directed the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, to work with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to ensure the release of necessary funds for vaccine procurement.

The President in a statement by his spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale was quoted as saying, ”We intend to contribute to the development of our healthcare programme, and we are committed to partnering with GAVI.”

The President stated that his administration is focused on ensuring that no child is left behind when it comes to vaccination against preventable childhood diseases.

”GAVI’s commitment to humanity is recognized throughout the world. Thank you for the impactful commitment to humanity, and we welcome the collaboration to save our children from preventable diseases.

”We as a nation are committed to your values, and we believe that no child should be left unprotected,” he said.

President Tinubu acknowledged the invaluable perspective shared by the GAVI CEO, who hails from a developing country, Pakistan, and emphasized the importance of leveraging her experience for the benefit of children’s health.

Commending Dr. Nishtar for her visit to Nigeria and support for the administration’s health-sector initiatives, the President pledged to prioritize investments in health sector renewal, noting the importance of coordination and collaboration among federal, state, and local governments.

In her remarks, the GAVI CEO congratulated the Nigerian government on its innovative health-sector initiatives, including increasing budgetary allocations to health to 4.6 percent and commitment to providing HPV vaccines for adolescent girls, among others.

She expressed readiness to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to leverage policy instruments and technical expertise to advance health outcomes.

Dr. Nishtar announced GAVI’s commitment to providing $250 million grant support to Nigeria, as well as its dedication to addressing vaccine inequity in Africa through initiatives like the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator, which has earmarked $1 billion to support the sustainable growth of Africa’s manufacturing base for vaccine production.

”Nigeria is a very special country. It is a very special country in Africa. It is a special country in the world and it is a very special country for us in GAVI. There is a dictum in GAVI that says, ‘there is no success for GAVI without success in Nigeria’,” she said.

The GAVI CEO also informed the President that the GAVI Board will be meeting in the coming weeks to decide on policy decisions that will impact the way in which Nigeria receives support from the organization, beyond 2028, and that her visit to the country was for discussions with Nigeria’s health managers.

Vanguard News