Vaccine manufacturing roadmap gets boost

Pan-African vaccine manufacturing hub
Delese Mimi Darko, CEO, FDA
  • as FDA receives €2.8m support from EU, GIZ

Ghana’s agenda to become a Pan-African vaccine manufacturing hub has received a further boost with an agreement for institutional and technical support to the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ).

Per the agreement, the EU and GIZ are collaborating to support implementation of the country’s first-ever major strategic intervention on domestic vaccine production with an investment worth €2.84million.

Key among the strategies is the establishment of all necessary structures and processes for the FDA to perform full regulatory oversight of local vaccine production by September 2024.

This entails systems and capacities for vaccine market authorisation and dossier evaluation, and a lot release system in the FDA based on World Health Organisation guidelines and a strong laboratory system.

The need for an institutional and technical strengthening of the FDA, which was conceived by the EU and German government, forms part of some five strategic interventions in the 10-year government of Ghana vaccines manufacturing roadmap – key among the strategies being to upgrade and strengthen the FDA.

The FDA CEO, Mrs. Delese Mimi Darko, said this initiative will ensure that the FDA has enhanced-capacity regarding facilities and personnel to enable quality, safety and efficacy of locally manufactured vaccines which meet international standards.

“I will also upgrade the FDA from WHO maturity level 3 to a maturity level 4 regulatory agency for vaccines, and further deepen the authority’s position as a centre of excellence in the sub-region,” she indicated.

She said the project will also upgrade the FDA’s pharmaceutical microbiology laboratory to a biosafety level 3, and will also strengthen the authority’s inspection, licencing and market authorisation roles.

German Ambassador to Ghana, Daniel Krull, said Ghana’s decision to build and become a private sector-led vaccine manufacturing hub is an important turning point.

“The African continent produces only one percent of its vaccine needs. The quest by Ghana is a daring one, and Germany is proud to support this vision,” Ambassador Krull noted.

The EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, said the EU and its member-states will continue to support government in its efforts on regulatory strengthening, research and development, supply chain and private sector growth toward vaccine production.

Launching the support, Health Minister Dr. Kweku Agyeman-Manu said the COVID-19 pandemic revealed gaps in health systems globally and highlighted the importance of vaccines, which have become a priority for many governments including Ghana.

This, he said, has called for the country to strengthen its health system; hence the opportunity to make Ghana a vaccine-hub on the continent.

Further support for vaccine production in Ghana

Equally, the GIZ is investing an additional €5million in partnership with the Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee to support vaccine manufacturing in Ghana.

With an additional €2million funds for COVID-19 vaccine uptake, sensitisation and campaigns, the total €7million initiative is as expected to materialise by September, 2024.

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