Stakeholders in the health sector have emphasized the need for the Nigerian government to create an enabling environment that allows the production of local vaccines.
They called on the government to make vaccine production a national issue and a top governance priority.
The Director-General of West Africa Institute Institute of Public Health, Dr. Francis Ohaniedo made the disclosure at the end of a 2 day of African Vaccination week program in Abuja.
The symposium was organized by the West Africa Institute of Public Health (WAIPH), with the support of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health and Scale, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Reinvestment Health Social and Accountability Project in collaboration with other partners,
He called for political will from the leaders in all sectors of the economy to ensure even distribution of vaccines in different parts of the country, and enable the Primary Health care system to work effectively
“This endeavor even though it is cost-intensive, must be thought of as an economically viable investment and be seen as a public good, considering that we have a market population of over 20 million people. Nigeria should think of leveraging the regional market which is either at the West Africa sub-Regional level or the entire African region.”
The Director-General of the institute also noted that Nigeria is already working towards creating a hub in conjunction with NAFDAC, NIMR, and WHO to ensure that there is local production of vaccines.
He urged CSOs and NGOs in the public health space to broaden their scope of advocacy to give more citizens and communities a seat at the table in order to understand the science of vaccines and tackle misinformation.
While noting the media has the responsibility to simplify and amplify these issues, so citizens can hold public officials accountable.
The Program Officer of the Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development (CAAD) Jonathan Isa said the vaccine has produced humanity a chance toward a prosperous future.
“One of the signposts of the current COVID-19 pandemic is the reminder to the world of the power of vaccines to provide all the aforementioned advantages and thus give humanity a chance towards a prosperous future. This understanding served as a major catalyst for developing the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) in 2021, which sets an ambitious, overarching global vision and strategy for vaccines and immunization for the decade 2021–2030.”
He stated that the immunization agenda 2030(IA2030) requires a regional and country setting for the health systems to work effectively.
“The Immunization agenda 2030 comes at a time when global health security as occasioned by COVID-19 is on the front burner of issues being grappled with by governments across the globe.
Each country needs to reorient its health systems across the principles of primary health care. This new framework responds to member States’ bid to monitor PHC functioning including immunization, to accelerate movement towards universal health coverage and the other health-related SDGs.”
The Africa Vaccination Week (AVW), which is celebrated from 23rd -to 29th of April 2022 is aimed at promoting the use of vaccines to protect all Africans against diseases. The awareness drive which is in line with World Immunization Week aims to keep immunization high on regional and national agendas through advocacy, partnerships, and effective coordination of activities.