African Health experts have projected that the continent will produce 60 percent of its vaccines domestically by 2040.
This projection was made on the sidelines of the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) in the Rwandan capital city Kigali, which ended on Thursday.
Dr Precious Matsoso, the Co-chair of the international negotiating body of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, said that there was no equitable vaccine distribution during the COVID-19 crisis.
Matsoso also said that there was an issue of timely availability of vaccine, particularly in Africa, noting equity had been a problem.
“One of the solutions, according to the UN agency, is to promote technology transfer for African pharmaceutical industries to produce their own drugs and vaccines.
“Some countries have already established pharmaceutical industries, while others inked a deal with their European counterparts to establish vaccine factories.
“So far, Senegal, Rwanda, Ghana and South Africa have partnered with BionTech to host the manufacturing facilities of Pfizer vaccine.
“This is through an initiative coordinated by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African centres for disease control (CDCs) to boost the production capacity of the continent in developing medicines and drugs.”
However, Prof. Padmashree Gehl Sampath, the Special Advisor to the President of African Development Bank on Pharmaceutical and Health, said that financial investments into specific projects might hinder the expectation.
He also said that this coupled with technical assistance on a product-by-product basis alone would not be enough to reach the objectives of AU commission and CDC,
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF).
It has the mandate to act as a transparent intermediator advancing and brokering the interests of the African pharmaceutical sector with global and other Southern pharmaceutical companies.
The bank will also share IP-protected technologies, know-how and patented processes with the companies.