By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr. Salma Anas-Kolo, has disclosed that the Federal Government is committed to improving and increasing domestic research to support innovative local manufacturing of medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.
This, she said, is to achieve equity and quality health services for all Nigerians.
She stated this at a webinar organized by the Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. Obi Adigwe, with the support of the European Union and the Bulgarian Government.
The webinar was with the theme “Expediting Local Vaccines Manufacturing in Nigeria: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects,” on Friday.
According to the Special Adviser: “One of the pillars of Mr President in delivering Renewed Hope for Nigerians in the health sector, is improving and increasing domestic research to support innovative local manufacturing of Medicine, Technology and Vaccines to achieve equity and quality health services for all.
“The Federal government plan to work with the stakeholders, encourage and fund local research for new drugs, vaccines and disease epidemiology, determining best approaches to disease management within our local context.”
She noted that the “Federal Government is keen and interested in the outcome of this project, to ensure that the desired results of sustainable Vaccine Research and Development (R&D) and local production in Nigeria are achieved.
“Mr President will ensure that the validated and costed National Plan/Road Map for Vaccine Research and Development (R&D) and local production in Nigeria is giving the needed political will for successful implementation.”
She commended the European Union and the Bulgarian Government for their support to local production of vaccines readiness in Nigeria, insisting that, “I personally look forward to the outcome of today’s meeting and the project when completed.”
Speaking, the convener, the Director General of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, said that the need to build local vaccines capacity to address health issues in the country was proven right by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reiterated that there are huge opportunities for local vaccines manufacturing in the country and that “the development of a sustainable ecosystem in terms of research, business and policy making will support the success of vibrant local manufacturing entities in Nigeria and across Africa.”
While saying that NIPRD is open for collaboration in the effort for local vaccine manufacture in Nigeria, Dr. Adigwe applauded the European Union and the Bulgarian Government for their support to Nigeria in this area.
In her remarks, the European Union Ambassador, H.E Samuella Isopi, represented by Professor Leila Ben Amor, said the EU is committed to the initiative of creating an enabling environment for local pharmaceuticals’ manufacturing in Nigeria.
She indicated that the collaboration between NIPRD, the EU and the Bulgarian Government seeks to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Government by bridging the gaps between research and industries in the pharmaceutical sector.
She, therefore, announced the G-20’s one billion Euros funding from the EU and the World Bank to support the equitable access to effective quality, safe and affordable vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa.
On his part, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E Yanko Yordanov, indicated that the project provided an added value in term of capacity building for not only in Nigeria but also for other countries across Africa.