As Africa lags other global regions in inoculating against COVID-19, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that the continent needs the skills and capacity to manufacture its own vaccines.
Ramaphosa told a conference on vaccine production organised by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) that with only about two percent of the world’s total number of shots so far administered,“Africa needs to harness its own continental capabilities and identify opportunities for collaboration across… countries.”
According to him, other countries outside the continent “could offer technological expertise, financing and investment,” suggesting that India and Brazil could help with guidance on how they have developed their own generic pharmaceutical industries.
We will also need capacity-building in the form of skills and knowledge transfer to ensure we can sustain local manufacturing.
Africa has been the region least affected by the pandemic, with 4.35 million cases and 115,000 deaths among an overall population of 1.2 billion, according to the latest figures from Africa CDC.
But its slow pace of vaccinations has been blamed on inadequate supplies, lack of financing and logistical problems.
Ramaphosa, whose country is Africa’s worst hit by the pandemic, recently criticised developed countries for hogging vaccines, warning “vaccine apartheid must come to an end.”
Also speaking at Monday’s conference, Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, said that “vaccine equity” could not be guaranteed by “goodwill alone.”
Kagame told attendees:
Africa needs to and should be capable of producing its own vaccines and medical products.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 44 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 163,837..
The new infections were registered from four states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the last 24 hours.
The NCDC stated that Enugu took the lead with 22 cases, Lagos 15, FCT 4, Osun 2, and Kaduna 1.
The agency also reported a COVID-19 related death in the last 24 hours, while the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the country stood at 2,061.