In a step towards enhancing Africa’s self-reliance in vaccine production, there is a growing call for the amendment of several laws in the country to provide essential support for local vaccine manufacturing.
According to Dr Opio Samuel, the vice chairperson of the Parliamentary Health Committee, the call aligns with the African Union’s ambitious agenda for the year 2040, which aims to have Africa produce 60% of its vaccines, fostering greater independence in healthcare and immunization.
The drive for self-sufficiency in vaccine production gained momentum, particularly in the wake of global health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many African nations, including Uganda, recognized the importance of bolstering their own vaccine manufacturing capabilities to ensure timely access to essential vaccines for their populations.
Dr. Opio Samuel, the vice chairperson of the parliamentary health committee, notes that to achieve this critical goal, there is a need to revisit and amend existing laws and regulations that govern pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries within the region.
Dr. Opio further states, that these changes are expected to provide a more favourable environment for the growth of local vaccine production.
Some key areas that require attention include intellectual property rights, regulatory approvals, research and development funding, and incentives for private sector involvement.
Currently, there has been a new paradigm shift in the vaccine landscape in the last two years for Africa, where several African countries including Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and most recently Rwanda have taken concrete steps towards the process of manufacturing vaccine on the continent.