Following increased demand for vaccines across the country, the Federal Ministry of Health has called for the resuscitation of local vaccine manufacturing in the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire made the call on Thursday, September 30, 2021 at the launch of the maiden edition of Nigeria Vaccine Policy and third edition of the National Drug Policy in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that the country is plagued with many vaccine preventable diseases yet lagged behind in vaccine manufacturing.
Ehanire who expressed delight at the launch of the two policies said the goals of the National Drug Policy was to make available at all times to the Nigerian populace adequate supplies of drugs that are effective, affordable, safe and of good quality; to ensure the rational use of such drugs; and to stimulate increased local production of essential drugs.
He disclosed that the expectations on previous editions were unrealised due to lack of political will by past governments and the absence of a well-structured monitoring system,he added that this third edition of the National Drug policy took care of identified lapses of previous editions.
The Minister further enumerated the importance of the Policy:
“It is worthy to note that the implementation strategies for achieving local vaccines production and ownership of the vaccines supply chain management processes towards vaccine availability and security in the country is achievable with the launch of this policy document today.
“The governing council should mobilize resources from the governments across all levels, individuals, the international communities, donor agencies. There is need to resuscitate the local production of vaccines, intensification of research and development and strengthening of the legislature and regulatory agencies to support the quality and safety of vaccines in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria in partnership with May and Baker Pharmaceutical formed the Biovaccine Nigeria Limited to encourage local vaccine manufacture. Biovaccine Nigeria Limited, other international Key Players and manufacturers are requested to use the appropriate technologies in modern vaccines production to boost local production of vaccines in Nigeria and make vaccines available to the Nigeria populace and the whole of West Africa,” said Ehanire.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, further enumerated the purposes of the Vaccine Policy, he said:
“The purpose of the Vaccine Policy was to address the goal and objectives of achieving availability, self-sufficiency and vaccine security in the country.
” It is hoped that the development of this Policy will complement the already existing Immunisation Policy and provide the platform for the amelioration of vaccine preventable diseases in Nigeria.
“A National Vaccine policy is required to achieve an effective manufacture, storage, importation and distribution of safe, effective and good quality vaccines to the end users,” he added.
Mamman said that there was need to focus on creating policy environment, quality stakeholder engagement and adequate financing for proper implementation of the vaccine policy.
He added that there was need for proper monitoring and evaluation of the whole process as already captured in the Nigeria Vaccine Policy. Lessons learnt from the evaluation will be used to improve implementation of the policy or make changes in the implementation.
“Today, is a story of the birth of two enriching policies, I commend key actors on the launch of the 3rd edition of the National Drug Policy, this policy will ensure efficient and effective drug management in the public and private sectors, ensure access to safe, effective, affordable and good quality drugs at all levels of health care, increase local drug manufacture/production and promote export, ensure that all drugs in the national drug distribution system are safe, efficacious, effective and of good quality,” he said.