President Akufo-Addo urges rapid vaccine production at Global summit

President Akufo-Addo has emphasized Africa’s urgent need for accelerated and sustainable vaccine production during his keynote address at the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation.

Hosted by France in collaboration with the African Union and Gavi, the forum serves as a critical platform for advancing vaccine sovereignty and fostering innovation.

President Akufo-Addo highlighted the recent approval of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA) at the Gavi Board meeting held in  Accra.

This initiative, led by Gavi and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, aligns with the African Union’s ambitious goal to manufacture at least 60% of the continent’s vaccine doses by 2040.

Underlining Ghana’s longstanding commitment to vaccination, the President noted the country’s robust immunization coverage rates achieved through strategic campaigns and routine services.

Acknowledging the obstacles faced during the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, President Akufo-Addo addressed their impact on Ghana’s vaccination campaigns.

Supply delays and vaccine hesitancy contributed to coverage disparities, yet Ghana remains steadfast in accelerating sustainable vaccine manufacturing.

The President stressed the crucial role of public-private partnerships in advancing vaccine production across Africa. Currently, Gavi supports approximately 80% of vaccine costs in Ghana, with the government covering 15%.

Plans are underway to achieve full self-financing by January 2030, a pivotal step towards health financing independence.

Looking forward, Ghana aims to expand its vaccination schedule to include Malaria, HPV, Hepatitis B, and additional IPV doses, significantly broadening geographical coverage by 2030.

The recently launched Health Financing Strategy 2023-2030 advocates for increased investment in health resources, preventive services, and strategic partnerships with ECOWAS member states and other regional blocs.

In May 2023, Ghana established the Ghana National Vaccine Institute to coordinate vaccine research, development, and manufacturing.

The Institute focuses on establishing local vaccine manufacturing plants, enhancing human resource capacity, and collaborating with regulatory bodies to ensure global standards and technology transfer.

President Akufo-Addo also outlined efforts to strengthen Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), a crucial regulator recognized by the WHO for vaccine oversight.

Initiatives include building cleanrooms, setting up a molecular biology laboratory, and upgrading regulatory systems to support local vaccine manufacturers like DEK Vaccines and Atlantic Lifesciences.

In concluding his address, President Akufo-Addo praised the collaborative efforts behind the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation, expressing optimism for Africa’s future in sustainable vaccine production.

The forum, he noted, represents a significant milestone in global health advancement efforts.

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