By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said that it is working hard to obtain International certification to enable Nigeria manufacture vaccines locally.
NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, expressed confidence that Nigeria would soon start manufacturing vaccines, with the upgrading of existing laboratories across the country.
Speaking during the NAFDAC’s Staff Recognition and Award Ceremony for 2019 and 2020, for serving and retired staff held recently in Abuja , the DG said the agency has made huge milestone in the efforts to address the health needs.
She said: “From last three years, the agency has embarked on the digitalisation of its regulatory activities through the deployment of the electronic platform for online registration and decentralisation of registration processes”.
She said the digitalisation exercise enables the clients register their products through online, adding that the agency has decentralised the production of some regulated products to encourage growth of small scale business enterprises
She said NAFDAC was recognising some members of staff who helped in distribution of its palliatives during the lock down.
Also the agency has developed and deployed the port inspection data of its management system as a web-based online application that provides electronic endorsement.
She dsclosed that achieving the ISO 9001 in June 2019, which is the world’s most recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard, places the country in good standing to strive to get to maturity level three, which enables the country manufacture its own vaccines.
Adeyeye also noted that the agency is leveraging technology to trace vaccines, especially when the COVID-19 vaccines arrives the country.
She explained that this will enable it track and trace vaccines received, to ensure that they are safe and monitored for adverse reactions on patients.
“NAFDAC is a leading national regulator in Africa. The agency is driven by international standards and best practices,” she said
Adeyeye expressed confidence that Nigeria would soon start manufacturing vaccines, with the upgrading of existing laboratories across the country.
“Our new normal started three years ago when we started quality management system that now makes us to focus more on the customers, the image of the organisation in order to ensure that we are a standard operating procedure-driven organisation.
“This led us to achieving ISO 9001 in 2019 June. We moved on to the global benchmarking where we adopted international best practices and we are still adopting international best practices.
“With regards to the establishment of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) global benchmarking and adoption of international best practices, we want to get to maturity level three so that Nigeria can manufacture her own vaccines, and we are all working on this every day.“
“We are upgrading the agency’s laboratories to international standards using equipment that are compliant to ISO 17025. NAFDAC laboratories are changing very rapidly with improvements in new equipment and supplies.
“Our four laboratories that were accredited before I came have received re-accreditation. We have also gotten a new lab – the Yaba Biologies and Vaccines Lab accredited for the first time. And our two other labs will be accredited very soon.”
Adeyeye said efforts to enhance the local production of pharmaceuticals in Nigeria, has led to the agency renewing and updating its 5 + 5 validity policy in order to promote local content.
“We want more local manufacturing – to reverse it from 70 per cent imports to 70 percent locally manufactured products.
“We are building traceability because our supply chain is chaotic to say the least. This is a technologically-driven initiative, and NAFDAC is the second country in Africa to adopt this. We are using this for COVID-19 vaccines when they come,” she said.