The World Health Organisation (WHO) says South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia will be the first African countries to receive technology needed to produce mRNA vaccines via tech transfer hub.
The announcement was made by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus at the European Union-African Union summit currently underway in Brussels.
Reacting to the announcement, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa said unless Africa has a vaccine market, manufacturing vaccines will soon collapse.
“We are delighted to be part of this announcement to share our experience as the first WHO mRNA Hub in Africa”.
“Since South Africa was selected to host this Hub, we have learned a lot. We have learned the value of a well-functioning eco-system that includes universities, research institutes, public health institutes, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory bodies”.
“We cannot continue being consumers of medical countermeasures for diseases produced at high prices that are not affordable to the Continent”.
Ramaphosa said while Africa appreciates the donations, they are never a sustainable mechanism to build resilience.
“Governments that are serious about vaccine access for all need to approve the TRIPS waiver. We are facing a global pandemic, all we ask is the waiver be done, for a set period, to enable all countries to have access to vaccines”, said Ramaphosa.
Amanda Matshaka for African View News