By Kemi Yesufu
Executive-Director of Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), Ms. Souad Adon-Osman, has said Africa needs a multi-sectoral approach to achieve universal access to vaccines and vaccination.
Speaking at a press conference heralding the Monday June 21, launch of the President Olusegun Obasanjo-led CoDA Independent Taskforce On Equitable and Universal Access to Vaccines and Vaccination, Adon-Osman stressed the importance of developing African solutions for the growth and development of the continent.
Igbinedion University Okada will be hosting the launch of the taskforce’s initiative on vaccine and vaccination.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic provides Africa with the opportunity for structural transformation, especially one that will move countries on the continent from being producers of raw material and consumers products as well as solutions from the outside to a continent replete with home grown
This is as she emphasised the role the private sector can play in changing Africa’s current situation of depending on others.
She said: “We need to localise our solutions. We have been hit by an unprecedented scourge. The COVID-19 pandemic crippled the whole world, but again we are coming out of the pandemic as if we were the most unprepared continent .
“We are in a situation where Cuba is going to vaccinate its people with its own vaccine. For the entire continent of Africa, seven countries are claiming to be in the race of developing a vaccine”.
“In April, CoDA organised a virtual conversation in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Disease Control, the Africa Development Bank, AFREXIM and other partners. What came out of the two-day dialogue was that Africa should come up with its own solution and stop being at the receiving end of everything”, she further said.
Also speaking at the media parley held in Benin the Edo State capital, President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and representative of the private sector, Mr. Ahmed Mansur, said African manufacturers are willing to play a part in moving the continent from being receivers of foreign solutions to a developer of its own products which meet global standards.
He said: “For members of the media in Nigeria, this is a song that even our President has been singing-that we must produce what we need and we must consume what we produce. This is basically what we need to do in Africa, across different sectors.
“We have to clearly scale up our capacity to produce and industrialise. If we are in the position to produce more, then we have a choice to use what we have produced in Africa or we import. We can even trade more equitably.
“I believe this is what CoDA is talking about. The focus on vaccine is clear because now there are countries you can’t travel to if you haven’t used the vaccine they have approved”.
According a report by the World Health Organisation less than two percent of the 690 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to date globally have been in Africa, where most countries received vaccines only five weeks ago and in small quantities.
Forty-five African countries have received vaccines, 43 of them have begun vaccinations and nearly 13 million of the 31.6 million doses delivered so far have been administered. The pace of vaccine rollout is, however, not uniform, with 93% of the doses given in 10 countries, the report further shows .