HomeScience and TechnologyVaccine production: West African scientists to boost local capacity

    Vaccine production: West African scientists to boost local capacity

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    By Oluwafunke Ishola

    Medical laboratory and research scientists from West Africa are set to chart a course that will assist in building local capacity for the manufacturing of vaccines and other medical products in the sub-region.

    This was disclosed in a statement by Ms Efam Dovi, Public Relations and Outreach Lead, CelebrateLAB Conference, on Sunday in Lagos.

    Dovi noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 disease saw West Africa, and indeed Africa, suffer inequity in access to masks, diagnostic devices, testing kits and other medical supplies, as well as vaccines.

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    “While health inequity against the continent is not new, the COVID-19 pandemic reopened the conversation on ensuring the continent’s self-sufficiency in healthcare products and solutions through local manufacturing in order to expand access to healthcare.

    “This effort will require wider collaboration across the region to ensure that the needed expertise and resources are available to create the right environment for product manufacturing.

    “Critical among these initiatives will be building professional expertise in clinical research and health diagnostics, to ensure that medical products manufactured in Africa are suitable for Africans,” she said.

    Dovi said that medical laboratory and research scientists from West Africa would converge at the CelebrateLAB West Africa Conference in Accra, Ghana, from April 21 to 22.

    CelebrateLAB Conference is an annual meeting of medical laboratory and research professionals, regulators, policy makers, academia and medical product manufacturers and suppliers.

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    The first conference took place in Liberia in 2014, following the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease that claimed several lives and revealed major gaps in the region’s healthcare systems, especially in the area of disease surveillance and diagnostics.

    Dovi added that the conference would proffer solutions to enhance laboratory capacity in the area of human resources, clinical research, vaccines and other medical products manufacturing in West Africa.

    According to her, the theme of the conference is, “Ensuring Diagnostic Capability and Vaccine Sufficiency as Panacea to Combating Infectious Diseases in West Africa.”

    She added that Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, would deliver the keynote address, with emphasis on strengthening West Africa health systems through lessons learnt from the current COVID-19 pandemic and previous disease outbreaks.

    Other speakers at the event include Ghana’s Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu; Prof. James Damen, National President, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria; among others.

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    The conference is organised by Africabio Enterprises Inc., in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists and Ghana Health Service with support from the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria. (NAN)

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