Chairman of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, has proposed the establishment of a major laboratory in the sub-region that would enable member countries to produce vaccines to deal with emerging diseases and viruses.
He stressed the need for West African leaders to learn from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by instituting pro-active measures that would prevent diseases from spreading by equipping and supporting their scientists.
Dr Kassi Brou made the proposals in an interview with journalists in Accra last Thursday after visiting the new office of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) in Accra.
The general mission of ERERA which is the regional regulator for cross-border electricity interconnections in West Africa is to regulate cross-border electricity exchanges between ECOWAS member states, while overseeing the implementation of necessary conditions to ensure rationalization and reliability
ERERA also contribute to the setting up of a regulatory and economic environment suitable for the development of a regional market.
Dr Kassi Brou stressed the importance of West African sub-region pooling their resources together to reduce vaccine discovery and production cost.
Brou admits having a standard laboratory in the region to discover and produce vaccines is a challenge that must be addressed collectively by ECOWAS member states.
He emphasised the need for the sub-region to establish mechanisms that would be able to identify threat of disease outbreaks and also build the capacity of various health agencies, bureaus and offices to be able to respond when diseases do emerge.
“ECOWAS as a regional bloc would encourage and foster the spirit of working together to address specific issues that affect us all because a virus does not know borders,” he said.
Dr Brou commended the government for taking proactive steps to contain the spread of COVID-19 while expressing appreciation to ERERA for the role it plays in helping to address the energy challenges in the ECOWAS region.
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