President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana on Tuesday presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for the DEK Vaccine Manufacturing Factory in Medie-Kotoku, Greater Accra Region.
On completion, the project will build the country’s capacity to manufacture 600 million doses of vaccines annually.
These include the entire value chain of the vaccines for cholera, rotavirus, pneumonia, malaria, and pneumonia.
The project is being spearheaded by DEK Vaccines Limited, a private sector-led consortium of Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies.
The groundbreaking ceremony follows the recent signing of a grant agreement worth five million euros between the consortium and the European Union (EU).
According to President Akufo-Addo, the COVID-19 pandemic had taught both the nation and Africa as a whole the importance of taking the necessary steps to build a health infrastructure that meets acceptable standards.
This led the Ghanaian government to collaborate with its development partners and other African nations, such as Rwanda and Senegal, to realise the goal of developing and producing vaccines locally.
The President urged the continent to exert great effort to make sure that “we shall never again be pawns of the global vaccine manufacturing order.”
According to the EU, about 90% of the vaccines used by African nations are imported.
In light of this situation, Ghana is collaborating with Rwanda and Senegal to increase vaccine development and production in an effort to lessen Sub-Saharan Africa’s excessive reliance on vaccine imports.
With a plan to build a total of four fill and finish lines that can fill any type of vaccine, the DEK Vaccines Factory hopes to eventually incorporate vaccine manufacturing and production.
The Fill and Finish facility will have the ability to fill both messenger ribonucleic (mRNA) and conventional vaccines using the most cutting-edge technology.
Akufo-Addo praised the EU for aiding the nation in enhancing its ability to produce vaccines domestically.
He stated that Ghana would continue to liaise with the Union to address its health issues.
The over-reliance of Africa on imported vaccines to meet its medical needs was criticised by Irchad Razaaly, the EU Ambassador to Ghana.
He emphasised that the Union would continue to engage leaders on the continent in order to find ways to boost the continent’s capacity to produce its own vaccines. He said the EU was determined to support the continent financially and technically in order to change that narrative.
The project had both direct and indirect socio-economic benefits, according to Dr. Kofi Nsiah-Poku, managing director of DEK Vaccines Limited, as the adoption and upkeep of reliable health and security infrastructure served as the cornerstone for long-term economic growth.
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