The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday officially handed over equipment worth US $750 000 (R14 083 950) to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), the first recipient in the continent.
According to a joint statement, the tools will support SAHPRA with its regulatory functions relating to vaccine manufacturing.
Africa CDC Director-General, Dr Jean Kaseya, and SAHPRA CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, attended the ceremony in Pretoria.
The African Union (AU) Heads of State established the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM), under the Africa CDC launched in 2021 and its Framework for Action in 2022.
The PAVM aims to steer a bold goal that will enable the African vaccine manufacturing industry to develop, produce and sustainably increase supply, currently sitting at less than 1%.
It is also looking to prop up the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to ensure safe and quality vaccines.
The Africa CDC is working with four other NRAs to boost their capacities to achieve the ambitious goal of manufacturing 60% of vaccine needs on the continent by 2040.
“This donation is a proverbial breath of fresh air for SAHPRA and more importantly, the African continent. This stellar initiative will provide much-needed impetus for SAHPRA to take bold steps to capacitate the authority and the continent in paving the way for renewed vigour and innovation on the continent,” said Semete-Makokotlela.
Meanwhile, Kaseya said Africa CDC’s mission of safeguarding Africa’s health from disease threats such as pandemics would require viable and sustainable manufacturing of health products and technologies on the continent.
“To achieve this noble mission, NRA are our key partners. Today’s ceremony marks an important step in our commitment to support African manufacturing to ensure safe and effective vaccines are produced on the continent,” he said.
The Africa CDC worked with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) to set priorities such as regulatory process harmonisation, engaging with and strengthening NRAs directly, supporting and strengthening the Regional Centres of Regulatory Excellence (RCORE) platform to facilitate vaccine regulatory oversight, as manufacturing of health products expands in Africa.
Africa CDC is a continental autonomous public health agency of the African Union.
It supports member States in their efforts to strengthen health systems and improve surveillance, emergency response, prevention and control of diseases. – SAnews.gov.za