The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has urged government to give some more attention to its quest to produce COVID-19 vaccines locally as it holds national security implications.
The production of vaccines locally, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society Ghana, Pharmacist Samuel Kow Donkoh notes, will reduce dependence on foreign supplies, particularly amid global vaccine shortages and geopolitics.
“Key among the essence of producing vaccines locally is ensuring national security. Apart from health, we see this as a national security issue that the government must address,” he said at an event to mark the 2021 World Pharmacy Day.
The PSGH has already pledged its commitment to support government towards the production of COVID-19 Vaccines in the country locally. He noted that COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for Ghana and the entire sub-Saharan Africa to build vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics manufacturing capacity as one of the resources needed to address public-health crises.
In view of this, the pharmacy fraternity has expressed its excitement towards government’s recognition of the need to develop the country’s capacity to produce its own vaccines domestically and pledged to provide government the needed support for the ambition to come to fruition.
Impact of domestic production
Speaking on how the production of vaccines locally will impact the country’s economy, Pharm. Kow Donkoh opined that it would encourage savings so far as foreign exchange is concern. He added that, it would also increase the percentage of accessibility to vaccines and immunization which will intend impact the health of citizens.
“There are so many lives that we have lost that if we have a vaccine production, these people will still be existing and will be able to contribute to the economies of the country (human resource). Let’s not forget the ultimate, the job opportunities this will create: job for pharmacists and other support services and so many industries will emerge out of the vaccine production industry,” Pharm. Know Donkoh said.
The Pharmaceutical Sector and Trust
A speech read by the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Education of the Ministry of Health (MoH), Emmanuel Odame on behalf of the health minister, said the Pharmacy Directorate of the MoH is working to build a healthy population by providing quality pharmaceutical services to support the health sector.
He said the key priority areas of the Directorate for 2021 have been: Medicines Policy and Regulation; Health Technology Assessment (HTA); Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR); Pharmaceutical Traceability which will ensure only authentic medicines are in the supply chain; and Pricing of Pharmaceuticals aimed at making medicines affordable to all people living in Ghana.
He also said these key areas when fully implemented will augment the Ministry’s goal of ensuring trust of the citizenry in the health sector. The Ministry charged all Pharmacists to critically examine the various roles they play in the value chain for ensuring that Safe and Effective Medicines are available to all.
“Now that more pharmacists are being trained, community pharmacies should ensure service provision is always supervised by qualified pharmacists who undertake regular continuous Professional Development. This will ensure that pharmacists are abreast with current medical and scientific evolving evidence to preserve the trust that Ghanaians have for them.”