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Posted On

26
October
2022

Nigeria to become global hub for vaccines production – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Seoul, South Korea, said the high quality of current academic and research work and potential in Nigeria, places the country in readiness to become a global hub for sustainable manufacturing and distribution of vaccines and biological pharmaceuticals.

Buhari spoke at a summit jointly convened by the government of South Korea and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to discuss the future of vaccines and bio-health across the globe.

He assured that Nigeria would continue to explore bilateral, multilateral and other opportunities for cutting-edge technology as a centre of excellence for vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

The Nigerian leader told the audience which comprised CEOs of global vaccines and biologics companies, that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has jolted the collective consciousness of world leaders and the need to chart a better future.

A statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, said Buhari also called for the speedy take-off of local production of mRNA vaccines, after the WHO selected Nigeria as one of six African countries to receive technology needed to produce the vaccines.

‘‘As the mRNA technology allows science to shift attention to yet unknown disease threats, we see opportunities to address diseases that have plagued sub-Saharan Africa and third world countries for centuries.

‘‘We believe biomedical scientists can dream of ending the scourge of Malaria, Ebola, Lassa fever and various endemic neglected tropical diseases through development and manufacture of efficacious and affordable vaccines and therapeutics.

‘‘Nigeria invites partners ready to support efforts towards the entire value chain of vaccine technology development in our continent, to consider working with us in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Buhari noted that the ongoing conversations on the future of vaccines tend to support the decentralisation of capacity to produce essential materials to respond globally to pandemics and expressed Nigeria’s preference for a global warehousing and supply chain strategy to attend to the needs of most countries.

‘‘We believe that this concept makes sense and we fully endorse the wisdom of strategic and balanced spread of critical manufacturing capacity and essential stockpiles across the globe,’’ he said.

The president, therefore, assured that Nigeria was ready and able to offer itself for this initiative, due to its strategic geographical location, strength of economy and market size derived from a population of over 214 million people.

He added that Nigeria’s comparative advantage is also supported from her experience in human and animal vaccine production record since 1924, when colonial authorities produced WHO-certified smallpox, yellow fever and anti-rabies vaccines locally – a technology that has been improved upon and being used in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria.

The Nigerian leader, at the event, reaffirmed the country’s position on equitable distribution of vaccines, citing lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and the unpleasant experiences of developing countries.

Describing the global response to the pandemic as discriminatory, the president demanded that the world must not allow the serious public health failure to happen again.

‘‘It must be said that inequity in distribution of virtually all requirements for diagnostics and therapy was a key factor in the lack of capacity to produce basic or essential commodities, and the total dependence on imported goods.

“Although COVID-19 actually threatened and continues to threaten all of mankind with no regard for race, region or economic standing, global response was not only segmented but discriminatory.

“If the pandemic had taken the course that was predicted by some experts, there could have been an existential threat to sections of humanity. Such a serious public health failure should not be allowed to happen again and lessons must be learned from it,’’ he said

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