Vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa


This current Call to Action is a continuation of COHRED’s efforts in “Strengthening Pharmaceutical Innovation in Africa”, and it focuses specifically on vaccine related capacity transfer to Africa.

Essentially, we (COHRED, and now also the Global Forum for Health Research) have been more involved in capacity building in Low- and Middle-Income Countries than in immediate relief and vertical programmes. This is not meant as a critique; it does aim to create the awareness that ‘development’ is ultimately NOT about continuing to run global relief efforts but about transferring capacities for health interventions to areas who need them. In the case of pharmaceuticals and biologicals, the transfer of R&D, production, procurement and regulatory capacities is not simple – it will take time – but holds the promise of real development well beyond the particular condition that is being tackled. Seth Berkley, the new CEO of GAVI, noted this recently in a SciDev.Net interview in which the potential economic benefits of health and pharmaceutical research were highlighted, just as COHRED and the Global Forum for Health Research have done for a long time. (“How health R&D can boost development“. Seth Berkley. SciDevNet 3 May 2011.

In line with this, we have prepared the attached letter – calling on donors funding GAVI to also fund and set goals for vaccine related capacity transfer to Africa in particular. The question is how this can be done, and if and how the influence of development partners can be used achieve both : cheap vaccines to all children who need it, and capacity to produce these in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

South Africa is creating a Biovac facility outside Cape Town; Senegal has Yellow Fever production capacity; Tunisia is gearing up its capacity to produce; and in other countries in Africa, there is vaccine related R&D and production capacity that – with some help – can become quality producers in a period of a few years, not much more. Collectively, therefore, there is no reason why targets for the international community related to vaccination of children should not include that at least 3 of vaccines in which GAVI has interest be produced in Africa in the next five years.

That is the essential message we want to convey to the London Pledging meeting. If you are interested in supporting this in any way, please let us know. Or just sign up to this Call to Action so we can add your logo to the letter — the campaign is just starting with the GAVI Pledging Meeting on June 13th – it will continue well beyond to help achieve the goal of vaccine-related capacities transfer to Africa. Or, copy this letter and send it to the offices of your government international development department.

Keep watching this space for further developments, new partners, better ideas.

We are looking forward to hearing from you,

Carel IJsselmuiden
Director: COHRED
Executive Director: Global Forum for Health Research

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