President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday charged the Board of the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) to work to bring to fruition the vision of developing and manufacturing vaccines locally.
He told the Board that Ghana must build the capacity to manufacture vaccines to reduce dependence on unreliable sources, as was witnessed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country can no longer be pawns in the global vaccine market. They must achieve self-sufficiency in vaccine production to meet future national, regional and continental needs for health security.
The President made the call when he inaugurated the new 13-member Governing Board at a short ceremony at the Jubilee House, Accra.
Chaired by Dr Anarfi Asamoah-Baah, Head of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Board will facilitate the coordination of all vaccine-related activities in Ghana.
The other members of the board are Prof. William Kwabena Ampofo, Chief Executive Officer of the NVI, Dr Baffour-Awuah, representative of the Ministry of Health, Mr Mustapha Tawiah Kumah, representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr Daniel Gyingiri Achel, representative of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Ms. Fredrica Sala Illiasu, representative of the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice.
The rest are, Dr Delese Darko, representative of the Food and Drugs Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo, representative of Ghana Standards Authority, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, representative of the Ghana Health Service, Mr Kofi Nsiah-Poku, representative of the President of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana, Professor Kofi Opoku Nti, President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Professor Gordon A. Awandare and Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson, both nominees of the Minister of Health .
President Akufo-Addo said the global vaccine politics encouraged his government to initiate measures to produce critical vaccines locally and asked the Board to work to meet the expectation of Ghanaians to save the country from global vaccine nationalism and geopolitics.
He assured the NVI board of the government’s support and urged the body to pursue stakeholder consultation in the fulfilment of its mandate.
Dr Asamoah-Baah assured the President that the Board would work to ensure the efficient implementation of the key functions of the institute.
“We recognize that our remit is a subset of the broader national agenda, as a nation we still have challenges with vaccine literacy, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine shortage and vaccine financing.
“We pledge to collaborate with the agencies and institutions that have prime responsibility for these areas so that not only do we do our work, but we will also help to advance the vaccine agenda,” he said.
The President later commissioned the new ultra-modern office complex for the NVI at Cantonments, Accra, and charged the institute to maintain the facility.
The NVI, established by an Act of Parliament coordinate vaccine research, development and manufacturing in Ghana.