We’re ready to produce vaccines in Ghana – Nsiah-Asare

Presidential Advisor on Health Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has pointed out that Ghana is well placed to start the local manufacturing of Coronavirus vaccines on the continent to reduce the high demand of vaccines from other countries.

He said when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and the vaccine production started, it became clear that the rich countries who have invested in the manufacturing of vaccines had to use it to inoculate their citizens first and when there is some left then they extend their hand to other countries.

Dr Nsiah-Asare pointed out that it became clear to the African Union (AU) that out of all the vaccines Africa is using to immunize its 1.2 billion population only 1% of the vaccines are produced on the continent whiles 99% are imported from outside the continent.

He said the Coronavirus has brought unity among the African countries and has strengthened their Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDCs). And have vowed not to depend solely on external sources for their essential commodities like vaccines in such a pandemic era.

Dr Nsiah-Asare emphasized the point that not that countries like Ghana don’t have a very robust system to vaccinate its citizens but rather it is because the vaccines are not forthcoming from the countries that produce them.

He said the country have noticed that if they don’t become self sufficient, especially in the areas of vaccine production then the country’s healthcare system will lose the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Nsiah-Asare pointed out that this is one of the factors that has informed the decision by the government to start the manufacture of vaccines in the pandemic era and to produce other vaccines for other ailments post COVID-19.

He said the country is well placed when it comes to vaccine production in terms of the right personnel and a very robust regulatory body as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) which has a maturity level three, moving on to maturity level four with its results accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Nsiah-Asare also underscored the fact that the country can boast of a very strong pharmaceutical and scientific industry in the country to propel the agenda of internally producing vaccines and also the high demand for the vaccines on the continent.

He further stated that government have committed $25 million as a start up capital to establish a National Vaccines Institute who would work with the private sector and also external investors to begin the manufacture of vaccines in the country.

Dr Nsiah-Asare said this at the Future of Healthcare Summit 2021 at the Alisa Hotel on Wednesday, August 25.

“We are hopeful that in the next few years we have a road map that we are following, we have the short term, medium term and the long term. The short term is that we have to have a finished vaccine production in the country for Covid. The medium term is to build on our human capital in the country and also get some technology transfer into the country. It is very capital intensive so we need organizations involved in manufacturing to come together to form a consortium to work together to make it possible for any company who wants to start vaccine production in the country”, he pointed out. 

He added “we are very good in vaccination so it’s not only Covid vaccines that we are going to do, we have about thirteen vaccines that we are going to produce, including HPV and we want to make sure that we have the market because we are going to compete with the giants in the world, including India. So if you ask me from where I sit I will say yes, we are ready, if you put your mind to something and you have the vision, you will achieve it. And if you dream big you will get everything big and that’s exactly what government is doing”.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana