Mkhize Calls for African Produced Vaccines
Written by Mfundo on 7 April, 2021
By: Zilungile Mkhize
Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, says his department is working on a revised strategy to ensure the COVID-19 vaccination campaign focuses and targets the most pressing public health and the economic relief that vaccinations should achieve.
The minister says this comes from a deep study of the Sisonke Protocol which was conducted to draw lessons from the programme and enhance the efficiency of future operations.
The country is set for a significant and rapid expansion of its vaccination programme following the signing of the Pfizer agreement for 20-million doses of vaccines.
On locally produced vaccines, he says Africa should be able to have capacity to manufacture and distribute its own biotechnology to develop vaccines as COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe.
“We should take it as an urgent assignment to make sure that come other pandemics in the future, Africa is capable of manufacturing its own requirements, whether it’s protective gear, pharmaceutical products, diagnostic vaccines and equipment,” says Mkhize.
Meanhwile, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa says the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened health inequalities in the continent, with the poor grappling with limited access to life-saving drugs and contraceptives.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, says the continent will take longer to recover from the pandemic due to inequalities that are responsible for poor health outcomes.
Moeti says African leaders, health organisations and experts need to act on the social and economic determinants of health, by working across sectors to improve living and working conditions.