Ghana will start the construction of a vaccine plant by July 2022, Professor Frimpong-Boateng, Chairman, Vaccine Manufacturing Committee, has disclosed.
He said so far, feasibility studies had been completed, financial partners identified, and were currently working to “produce a remarkable project.”
The Chairman disclosed this at a joint meeting organised by the German Development Cooperation in collaboration with the Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee to commemorate World Health Day celebration and the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948.
The event was on the theme: “Two-years of COVID-19 Management in Ghana: Lessons and Interventions towards a better Ghana”.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng noted that a 10-year roadmap had been developed for the vaccine manufacturing which spanned three phases: short-term, medium term and long term.
“However, the emphasis now is on the short-term, which requires the production of COVID-19 vaccines within two years,” he stated.
At the end of the period Ghana would have built the ecosystem to identify candidate antigens to carry out all scientific and pharmacological processes to manufacture, store, and distribute vaccines that may be required for epidemics, pandemics, and the EPI programmes, the Chairman added.
Vaccine Manufacturing was expensive and as such the need for the financial partnerships.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng expressed appreciation to GIZ and all partners for the support given to Ghana for the establishment of the Vaccine Institute.
The meeting sought to draw attention to initiatives that fostered health security, discuss lessons towards the promotion of a prosperous and healthier Ghana, to sustain gains made to reduce COVID-19 cases.
Mr Gerald Guskowski, the Cluster Coordinator, Network for Inclusive Economic Development, GIZ-Ghana speaking at the event, revealed that the German Development Cooperation through a five-million Euro funding for three years had put together a project team to support the Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee in the implementation of its plan to develop Ghana into a vaccine manufacturing hub.
The team with the support of German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), seeks to contribute to solutions that support efforts of national governments and development partners in the fight against COVID-19.
The funding, supported the development of roadmap for vaccine development and production, commissioned a feasibility and market analysis study for vaccine production in Ghana, financed facility concept design and facilitated partnerships for the development of the vaccine manufacturing in Ghana, including a delegation trip to Europe to engage partners.
Mr Guskowski said COVID-19 pandemic had been a stark reminder that all depended on each other and as such the need to build local vaccine manufacturing and production capacities in Africa.
He further explained that under the brand, Team Europe, the German Development Cooperation and the European Union had initiated a collaboration to support implementation of Ghana’s strategic interventions on domestic vaccine production.
This initiative is a first step to empower African countries to have their own vaccination plants.
He said GIZ was also supporting Ghana’s 10-year development roadmap intended to transform the country into a Pan-African Vaccine Manufacturing hub.
“Partnering with other development sector partners such as the European Union, as well as private sector partners, is a great headway, so that Ghana can start vaccine production in 2024,” Mr Guskowski stated.
Mr Timothy Dolan, Team Lead, Macro Economic and Trade, EU Delegation, while mentioning the various support the European Union had given over the period, commended the Government of Ghana for the interventions in fighting the pandemic.
Dr Sally-Ann Ohene, representing the World Health Organization Country Representative, urged the Government to learn from the interventions and innovations that made gains in the managing of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana, “especially as we promote government investment in addressing environmental problems that are impacting health”.
She mentioned that the exemplary coordinating qualities in the COVID-19 response could be leveraged to drive national adaptation plans comprising essential public health interventions such as climate resilience, water, and sanitation programmes.
Dr Ohene urged that the enhanced surveillance systems and decentralized capacity for laboratory testing be built upon to strengthen early warning, alerts, and response systems to identify potential risk for climate sensitive water borne diseases.
Meanwhile, Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal have partnered German company BioNtech to fill, finish, and package BioNTech mRNA vaccines in Africa.
This is the first step in the chain of domestic vaccine production, which is expected to improve vaccine supply in Africa.
A discussion was held at the meeting to discussed lessons learnt towards the promotion of a prosperous and healthier Ghana, to sustain gains made in the fight against COVID-19 in future.
The 2022 World Health Day was on a global theme: “Our Planet, Our Health”.