- A Nigerian virologist based in the US has identified the reasons why Nigeria has not been able to build vaccine factory
- He identified lack of political will and selfish interest among certain groups as the main reasons
- Tosan Erhabor, the CEO of MLSCN, however, said that the present Buhari-led administration will fix the problems facing the health sector
A United States-based Nigerian virologist and vaccinologist, Dr Simon Magaji Agwale has pointed lack of political will and selfish interest among certain groups as the main factors militating against the establishment of vaccine factory in Nigeria.
Agwale spoke on Friday, April 13 at the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) 12th Public Lecture Series held in Enugu, Daily Trust reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that the theme of the lecture was: “Vaccine Efficacy: Impact of Utilization of Indigenous Microbial Strains in the Formulation and Production of Vaccines in Nigeria.”
The virologist said for the past seven years, there have been a series of talks on how to set up vaccine factory with its enormous benefits to the country and her citizens, but without success.
Dr Agwale, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the US-based Innovative Biotech USA, Inc said, despite all the human and material potentials Nigeria has, the country has not been able to set up a vaccine factory to manufacture vaccines that could take care of certain diseases in the country.
He said: “There is no African country that has the kind of resources to build vaccine factory as Nigeria, yet we can’t build a vaccine factory because of interest groups.”
He added that those who are keen on importing materials into the country would always work against the establishment of such factory, regretting that “even electoral microscope is not in Nigeria.”
He said there was no reason why Nigerians should still die of Lassa fever, malaria or things like that, in this age when the rest of the world is moving forward in solving their health problems.
He said vaccines to treat diseases such as Lassa fever or monkeypox would better be developed and manufactured in the West African sub-region because it is where such problems exist, adding that no country can develop anti-Lassa vaccines if Nigeria does not do so.
However, the Acting Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (MLSCN) – the regulatory body for medical laboratory services – Tosan Erhabor said the current federal government with its change agenda would ensure that things worked out well in the sector.
Erhabor said:“We are doing everything possible to make sure this is a reality; this current government is a change government and they are making everything possible to effect and reflect that change.”
He added: “We cannot continue to depend on the innovations of our counterparts in other climes whose primary interest is the well-being of their own people.”
He said if the members unite, there was no limit to what they could achieve together. “Let us begin to look inwards and resolve to find local solutions to local problems.”
The president of AMLSN, Dr Bassey Enya Bassey called on the government and private individuals to unite for the establishment of a vaccine factory as well as develop and manufacture local vaccines for the benefits of the citizens.
He stressed that “Nigeria has so much to benefit from local manufacture of vaccines rather than importation".
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“The human capital flight will reduce. The tendency to travel to foreign countries for vaccines will reduce. And there will be employment opportunities when such vaccine factory is built, while the impact will be tremendous for all Nigerians,” Bassey submitted.
NAIJ.com previously reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, advised Nigeria to speed up the investment of one percent of its Consolidation Funds intended for basic health provision.
Ghebreyesus gave this advice at the second THISDAY media parley in Abuja on Thursday, April 12.
The event was hosted by THISDAY newspaper was co-organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNFPA and USAID/ the Health Finance & Governance.
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