Africa Foundation will enable Nigeria, other countries manufacture vaccines- Expert

By Lucy Ogalue

Prof. Christian Happi says the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF) will provide a unique opportunity for Nigeria and the continent to be independent and less reliant on outside.

Happi, the Director, Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Sharm El sheikh, Egypt.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic showed that Nigeria and the African continent dependent and reliant on vaccine outside is making Africa very vulnerable.

“Africa needs to have a platform where they can start producing their own medicine, vaccine, and diagnostics and that is what APTF will do.

“If we start producing our own vaccine, medicine and our diagnostics, we will be self-reliant and in case of any disease we will not wait for the external world to help us.

“We will grow from a position of being consumers to producers and that can help Africa to export knowledge and products to the rest of the world and generate income.’’

The director said it was time Africa saw outbreaks of diseases as a source to generate income for their economies.

According to him, I have never  seen diseases in Africa as a source of generation of income, but rather we should look at it in that direction.

“This is because God did not create Africa only rich in mineral and natural resources, in human resources but also God created and blessed Africa with all these diseases

“They should be blessings to us in disguise. So Africa should actually use those diseases to create solution and through the solution create products such as diagnostics vaccines and drugs.”

The director reiterated that APTF was a great platform, and expressed the hope that it would fill the gap that had long existed on the continent’s health sector.

“And we believe that the APTF can help catalyse knowledge on the continent, and be transformational to produce those goods on the continent, ” he said.

On health facility, Happi urged African leaders to utilise all the resources around it, research and innovate to improve on the continent.

“COVID-19 has shown that you don’t throw money out and succeed. It is about skills, knowledge and experience.

“Africa has a lot of experience when it comes to disease management but we need to go into the next step which is innovation and solution that will go into the hands of patients,’’ he said.

(NAN)

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