The minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by Dr Mrs Olubunmi Aribeins in the department of food and drugs services, Federal Ministry of Health, made this known during a national symposium on Thursday in Abuja.
Ehanire said the ministry has been working to ensure it takes off and take off fully to produce the needed vaccine in Nigeria. The nation’s dependence on importation of vaccines and its ancillary concomitants seems to be the most stifling and has resulted in country falling behind expectations in optimally achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Apart from the COVID-19 global pandemic, other vaccine preventable diseases like malaria, chicken pox, small pox and HIV/AIDS continue to impede the strides development in the country impacting all facets of the society, with epidemic effects on the most productive segment of the Nigerian society, thereby increasing vulnerabilities as well as reducing productivity
Also, deputy director in charge of industrial development, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Mohammed Bala who also represented the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said this symposium will, without doubt, mark a great transition of the nations’ import dependence on vaccines, drugs and other essential medical and pharmaceutical products.
Bala said in order to fast track development in the health industry, the Ministry is at the process of developing a policy framework; Health Industries Corporation of Nigeria (HICON) for the development of the entire health industry and its value-chain. The concept of HICON emanated on the need to develop a strong and sustainable policy framework that would adequately respond to the rising challenges of the Health sector especially as manifested during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Aribeins, “We have been all over the globe advocating for support for Nigeria, saying that the support has been materialized with the World Health Organization and we are working closely with all our relevant institutions in Nigeria to see that within the next one year, Nigeria is able to produce it’s own human vaccine.
“Due to the upgrade of the vaccine that was not concluded we have at a point stopped but taking up again is not a challenge that is why we are working with all relevant body in Nigeria like NACA, NAFDAC and others to ensure within the shortest possible time, Nigeria will have its own local vaccine.
He assured that the ministry was determined to continue to partner with the pharmaceutical society and relevant stakeholders to improve the health of Nigerians, adding that the ministry is seriously working for local vaccine production while urging stakeholders to partner with the ministry to ensure we realise the objective.
Bala commended the organisers of Symposium and appreciated the good job they are doing as well as their relentless effort in making sure issues of this nature is brought to light and given more emphasis, commitment in seeing Nigeria become self-sufficient and self-dependent in the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), Anti-Retroviral Drugs (AVR), vaccine, medical equipment and kits
“The global economy has been faced with setback and is going through weak and uncertain downturn over the past few years. However, the federal government’s diversification drive of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has done appreciably well in the face of the global crisis,” Aribeins said.