Nigerian Scientists under the aegis of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) have expressed its members’ readiness to commence the development and production of indigenous vaccines against SARS-Cov2 and other infectious ailments.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its 15th annual national public health lecture series and 204th National Executive Council meeting held in Abuja signed by the president, Prof. James Damen, the association urged the government to focus on domestic vaccine production, saying Nigeria could no longer rely on imported vaccines from international suppliers.
Damen stated that the association was ready to support the government in its commitment to source and prmote home-based solutions
He stressed the need for the country to build capacity to address present and peculiar epidemics, noting that if the country had robust medical laboratories it would effectively investigate local disease outbreaks.
Damen urged the government to give priority to laboratory strengthening, especially at the primary and secondary levels of healthcare delivery to improve research, development and production of vaccines against infectious diseases.
The association equally noted that adequate funding and necessary laboratory infrastructure were needed to achieve this.
He said; “As long as biotic and abiotic relationship amongst humans, animals and environment remains, disease outbreaks at national, regional and global levels will always arise and the best approach to dealing with the threat remains national and regional approaches based on peculiarities in climes, race medical laboratory infrastructure.”
He stated that the reasons why Nigeria is not producing vaccines at the moment include inconsistent government policies, overriding of national interest by personal interest, some prefer that Nigeria continue to import vaccines through translucent procurement processes, way of doing business in Nigeria among others.
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Chikwe Ihekweazu in his lecture themed “Strategic Medical Laboratory Capacity Building For Pandemic Response: Lessons Learnt From Covid -19 Response In Nigeria”
In January 2021, the Federal government of Nigeria released N10 Billion to the NPHCDA for the local production of covid-19 vaccines.
Speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire reiterated that the N10billion released is meant for the domestic production of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
Ehanire said: “The Ministry of Finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”