GHANA – Ghana has hosted the 8th annual Medical Laboratory and Research Scientist Conference focused on the need to build local capacity for the manufacturing of vaccine and other medical products in the West Africa.
The CelebrateLAB® West Africa 2022 Conference under the theme ‘Ensuring Diagnostic Capability and Vaccine Sufficiency as Panacea to Combating Infectious Diseases in West Africa’ took place at Alisa Hotel in Accra.
The CelebrateLAB® Conference drew the participation of representatives from Africa, the United States of America, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom including medical laboratory and research professionals, academia, regulators, policy makers as well as medical product manufacturers and suppliers.
The conference stressed on the need for West Africa to work relentlessly towards achieving self-sufficiency in vaccines, diagnostic kits and materials among other medical supplies as well as West Africa collaborations to build diagnostic and research expertise to meet vaccine manufacturing in Africa.
In addition, the event highlighted the need for Africa to strive to achieve the Africa Union target which was to produce at least 60 percent of vaccines used in Africa by 2040 along with strategies to address gaps in West Africa’s health sector and the sub-regions’ diagnostic challenges.
The first CelebrateLAB® Conference took place in Liberia in 2014, following the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in the subregion that claimed several lives and revealed major gaps in West Africa’s healthcare systems
The annual event was organized by Liberia-based life science company Africabio Enterprises Inc. in partnership with the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists, the Ghana Health Service and the Akai House Clinic with support from the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria.
Former President of Liberia Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the keynote speaker, acknowledged the significant role played by medical laboratory professionals across the continent in the diagnosis and surveillance of COVID-19, noting that Africa has gotten better in responding to disease outbreaks.
Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf advised medical laboratory scientists to sharpen their negotiation and lobbying skills for effective engagement with political leaders to speed up laboratory policy implementation.
She encouraged heads of healthcare systems and health ministries across the West Africa sub-region to recognize the important contribution of medical laboratory and research professionals in ongoing efforts to create a sustainable and resilient pharma sector.
The conference monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult also saw the participation of Ghana’s Minister of Health Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who was the special guest of honour.
Moreover, CelebrateLAB’s delegates applauded Ghana, Senegal, and Rwanda for their partnerships with German biotechnology company BioNTech for vaccine production in Africa to address the issues of vaccine insufficiency.
They agreed to venture into wider collaboration in Africa along with supporting scientists and innovators in Biotech and Biopharm with an aim to improve production and cost of diagnostic devices and kits produced on the continent.
The first CelebrateLAB® Conference took place in Liberia in 2014, following the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in the subregion that claimed several lives and revealed major gaps in West Africa’s healthcare systems, especially in the area of disease surveillance and diagnostics.
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