Gavi: What Nigeria Needs to Do to Promote Local Vaccine Manufacturing

*Plans $1bn market facility

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

As Nigeria embarks on measures to promote local manufacturing of health sector commodities, the international vaccine alliance – GAVI has given useful tips on how to revive vaccine production in the country.

It said that the country needs to create an investment environment that will encourage organisations interested in vaccine production and if possible provide subsidies for them to assist their take off
Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, Dr. Sania Nishtar, said the organisation was planning to launch a programme that will further accelerate vaccine manufacturing and utilisation in Africa with an advanced market commitment to the tune of $1 billion.

Speaking after inspection of a Primary Healthcare facility in Mabushi in Abuja yesterday, as part of her itinerary in Nigeria, Gavi CEO said the organisation is dedicated to bringing vaccination to every child in every part of the world as a means of checking preventable deadly diseases.
When asked about the support Gavi is giving to promote local manufacture of vaccines in Nigeria, Nishtar said: “There are a lot of organisations and entities involved in vaccine manufacturing, both at the country level and global level. What the country needs to have is the right institutional environment with regulatory capacity.

“The country needs to create an investment environment and facilitate organisations interested in vaccine production and if possible provide subsidies for them. It is the country’s responsibility to do that to promote vaccine manufacturing.”
The Gavi boss said there are differences in the roles being played by the international organisations, adding that may inform the provision of funds, knowledge and oversights.

She said that the role of Gavi is to shape the market in such a way that vaccine manufacturing becomes viable, qualitative and affordable within the African continent.
“So we are very pleased to initialise the programme for activating vaccine manufacturing accelerator which is basically an advanced market commitment to tune of $1 billion,” she said

She said that the initiative will be launched very soon.
Regarding Gavi’s interventions in Nigeria, Nishtar said: “We are very committed to working with Government of Nigeria to ensure that every child on Nigerian soil is vaccinated against deadly preventable diseases.
“We are here to have a look at your health facility and on behalf of Gavi we forward to collaborating with the government to bring all the missing links that are required for the health to function better.

“I want to assure you that Gavi stands with you and to help you overcome the various hurdles to accessing healthcare.

“I have seen the primary healthcare centre and I have seen the health workers working . I have also gotten a feel of the services they render, so I am going to send some of our medicines to assist them,” she said.

She said that there is doubt that the primary healthcare system is “the backbone of the healthcare delivery system and we and other development partners will support the efforts to develop and sustain them.”

 The Executive Director of the National Primary Heath Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Muyi Aina, said that the country’s health indices with regard to child mortality rates and maternal deaths are getting better due to improvement in the routine immunisation and vaccination programme.

“Although it is not yet where it should be but government is working very hard, using all sorts of avenues and opportunities to scale up vaccination activities in the country. He said that partnership with Gavi is part of the efforts to make the needed vaccines readily available in the country.

Highlights of the engagement included a visit by the Gavi team to a Primary Health Centre in Mabushi and interaction with the District Head of Mabushi as well the local.people.

Gavi CEO also used the opportunity to interact with hospital personnel on duty as well as women and children who came for treatment at the Primary Health Centre.

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