Cabinet Secretary for Health Nakhumicha S. Wafula has once again made a case for investment in the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry especially to strengthen vaccine supply chains across the continent.
Delivering her keynote speech at the 3-day Africa Vaccine Supply Manufacturing Forum on Wednesday, Nakhumincha stressed the urgent need to address the gap that leaves Africa vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks and reliant on vaccine imports.
The forum whose primary objective is to develop a roadmap for future-proofing vaccine manufacturing supply chains, crucial for enhancing preparedness for future outbreaks and ensuring faster, more equitable vaccine access, brought together major stakeholders and players across the region.
“The Covid-19 pandemic exposed this fragility, highlighting the inequities within the global health system and fuelling a growing demand for increased local vaccine manufacturing in Africa,” she said.
Nakhumicha urged her counterparts across the region to unite efforts to reduce Africa’s reliance on external vaccine sources.
“One proposed solution is to ramp up local vaccine production, a move that would not only bolster Africa’s capacity to respond to health emergencies effectively and equitably but also spur job creation and foster innovation within the continent,” said Nakhumincha
The Cabinet Secretary emphasized the numerous benefits of establishing local manufacturing, drawing parallels with successful emerging markets that have built domestic pharmaceutical industries.
Additionally, she acknowledged that Kenya has long recognized the importance of developing its pharmaceutical manufacturing sector as part of its Vision 2030 for a progressive and sustainable healthcare system.
Despite Africa’s significant share of global vaccine consumption, statistics from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reveal that Africa imports over 90 percent of its vaccines.