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NIPRD DG insists political will key to local vaccine production in Nigeria

By Dan-Maryam Zayamu

The Director General of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. Obi Adigwe, has said that political will, provision of clear local vaccine development agenda and Research and Development (R&D) prioritization and coordination across efforts are key to achieving local vaccine development and production in Nigeria.
He disclosed this while making a presentation at the recently concluded COVID-19 summit in Abuja, recently.
The summit was put together by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 to fashion out solutions towards ending the pandemic and build  back the economy better.
The two-day summit which started with technical sessions was with the theme: Pushing through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better.
The objectives of the summit, among others, include to review the country’s COVID-19 response from February 2020 to November 2021- to identify successes, gaps, and lessons learnt;  identify resources and develop strategies that will actualize the country’s expressed international commitments towards ending COVID-19 by 31st December 2022; develop an accountability framework for COVID-19 response and health security in Nigeria;  synthesize the blueprint for Nigeria’s pandemic recovery, reconstruction, health security, and sustainability; and articulate actionable recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on the governance structure, resources, and policies needed to end COVID-19 in Nigeria by December 31, 2022, and build back the health system and the economy to better respond to future health-security threats.
The NIPRD Director General, also revealed that limited access to finance, weak infrastructure (R&D and production), low technological capacity and weak regulatory environments are among the factors frustrating vaccine development and production in Nigeria.
In order to overcome the challenges hindering vaccine development and production in the country, Dr. Adigwe called for the inauguration of  what he christened- National Vaccine Development Technical Working Groups with a working secretariat possibly in one of the GRIs.
He further called for the establishment of a Vaccine Research and Development Fund with sustainable funding strategy; mapping of human and infrastructural resources and capacities and gaps; setting of 10 years development agenda with key milestones – prioritizing capacity development strategy (human, laboratory &production); identifying and targeting diseases of national priority for vaccine R&D; strengthening linkages among key institutions and the private sector; attracting competent/skilled human resource from diaspora and a strong international cooperation, partnerships and collaboration.
He, however, vowed that NIPRD remained committed to continuing its statutory mandate in undertaking R&D activities that will not only improve access to health, but also contribute to the economy, and to national development.
“We have, and will continue to play a lead role in articulating the prioritization of pharmaceutical independence.“The epidemiological nature of the diseases in Africa, together with the relevant demographic indices, means that a robust engagement with the pharma sector, can provide an innovative model which can uniquely improve healthcare access whilst stimulating socioeconomic development.“Solutions for African healthcare issues must come from Africans who have the willingness and capacity to engage vigorously with relevant issues.
“NIPRD has demonstrated cognate capacity, experience and expertise to lead this intervention and remains partnership-ready to collaborate with other critical stakeholders towards the achievement of health and wealth for all,” he stressed.

Written by ExpressDay

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