AFRICA —African health ministers have agreed to encourage the acquisition of vaccines developed on the continent in order to establish a viable business capable of producing vaccines on a large scale.

This information was revealed during the 77th World Health Assembly, when the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) sponsored a high-level discussion titled “Ministerial Consultations on Local Manufacturing.”

More than 40 health ministers, officials from regional economic communities, and numerous partners attended this ministerial meeting.

Attendees were briefed on the results of a vaccine supplier landscape analysis conducted by Africa CDC in collaboration with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and PATH, formerly known as the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health.

The ministers discussed the continent’s readiness and the obstacles that manufacturers are now facing.

The primary issue is persuading Africans to buy vaccinations made on the continent, which is critical for developing a viable business strategy.

Currently, nine commercial-scale manufacturing facilities on the continent are preparing for technology transfers, with three manufacturers planning to produce eight vaccines for the African market by 2030.

These eight products require long-term demand that exceeds their respective countries’ domestic requirements. The meeting emphasised that dependable demand is the key difficulty that producers face across the spectrum of near-market products.

Africa faces little demand for indigenous vaccines, fragmented markets, and low economies of scale, all of which hinder the financial case for local firms to invest in vaccine manufacturing facilities and other health-care technologies.

To overcome these problems, the ministers proposed expediting regulatory harmonisation in order to facilitate widespread distribution and quality assurance for medications.

Essential efforts included strengthening national regulatory authorities and domesticating the African Union (AU) model law at the national level.

The African Union Summit in 2024 agreed to construct the African Pooled Procurement Mechanism (APPM) as a solution.

The Africa CDC is leading the APPM, which aims to improve access to excellent and inexpensive health products while also promoting industrial localization.

During the briefing, AU Member States pledged to support the continental aim, minimise intra-member state competition, and improve the regional system to safeguard the continent’s ability to manufacture vaccines and other health items.

It was reaffirmed that the African Medicines Agency (AMA) relies on member states’ combined help to get affordable, high-quality medications.

The forum provided an opportunity for partners to discuss their perspectives in support of the continent’s local manufacturing goal.

The Africa CDC will seek important improvements in vaccine manufacturing to keep on track to meet its goal of producing 60% of vaccines by 2040.

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