Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Nigeria may begin local production of vaccines by 2019.Already, the Federal Ministry of Health had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with May and Baker Nigeria Plc for the production of vaccines under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole told The Guardian when he received wife of the Senate President and the Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA), Toyin Saraki in his Abuja office that since it takes two years to produce a vaccine, signing the MoU now was precedent to making the vaccines in 2019.
“It is expected that with this MoU, they will roll out some vaccines for the country by 2019,” he stated.
“We want to embark on PPP with May and Barker. We are already developing an Mou for local production of vaccines and is awaiting the Federal Executive Council (FEC’s) approval and will commence with May and Baker,” he said.
The minister stated however, that the country would need $738 million for vaccines in 2014, 2017 and 2018.He noted that the vaccines production laboratory in Yaba, Lagos, was exporting vaccines until 2004 when it was shut down for rehabilitation, which never happened.
Adewole observed that in spite of the economic challenges, this government has done better than previous ones in terms of release of funds, stressing that the ministry got almost 80 percent in 2016 and 100 percent for polio eradication.
Speaking to The Guardian, Mrs. Saraki, who advocated for local production of vaccines, stressed the need for government to give children a health certifiable identity and record that tracks immunisation and every health intervention.
Her words: “Both the local investors and global donor agencies want to see what we are doing so that we can prevent illnesses and track coverage. We need to ensure accountability and diligent element of data.
“The foundation created a data backbone for government. Nigeria always have difficulty in presenting concrete evidence, always presenting pilot evidence, we need to take responsibility for our health.”
She had earlier emphasised the need to strengthen the primary healthcare (PHC) system in the country and scaled up access to vaccines, for the generality of Nigerians, especially our dear children.
“Nigeria needs to demonstrate its appreciation of the fact that for GAVI and other partners that support vaccines, the issue of Gavi audit needs to be resolved completely as soon as possible.
“While the efforts of the minister in this regard are highly commendable, we all must complement such efforts to ensure that the refund to GAVI is protected in the current budget and other related issues are resolved timely,” she added.
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