The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has commissioned a building to house the National Vaccines Institute, a secretariat located at Cantonment in Accra. He has also sworn in the 13-member governing board of the National Vaccine Institute.
The swearing-in ceremony took place yesterday at Jubilee House and the commissioning took place on the premises of the Secretariat, adjacent to the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NALEP), Accra.
President Akufo-Addo charged the governing board to work to meet the expectation of Ghanaians, which is to manufacture vaccines locally.
According to the President, the governing board could not renege on the need to make the nation self-sufficient in vaccine manufacturing to save the country from global vaccine nationalism and geo-politics.
While congratulating the members on their appointments, he stated that, “I am confident the Institute has the wherewithal to deliver on its mandate. Indeed, the Council of State found them worthy of appointment.”
He assured them of the government’s support and reminded them that they were not subject to the direction or control of any authority in the performance of their function, but swiftly added that the statutory composition of the board demonstrates amply the necessity of thorough stakeholder consultation.
“Following the inauguration of the governing board, it is with great pleasure and as President of the Republic that I commission formally this building to house a strategic coordinating entity for vaccine research, development, and manufacturing in Ghana, the National Vaccine Institute set up by an Act of Parliament, Act 1097, 2023.”
President Akufo-Addo charged the institute to maintain the building with great care and ensure it served the purpose of giving the nation vaccine security.
He further said at the commissioning of the office building that the novel Coronavirus pandemic has put Ghana and, by extension, the world on notice.
According to him, global vaccine politics encouraged his government to initiate measures to produce its own vaccine in order not to be caught in the web in the future.
He recalled how Ghana struggled to secure vaccines from the international market, albeit insufficiently, adding that “we cannot continue on this unsustainable path.”
He remarked that it was for that reason that he inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Vaccine Development and Manufacturing in 2021 to lead the nation in producing its inoculation.
They were also mandated to implement the revised national strategic COVID-19 response plan for 2020–2024.The Committee, he mentioned, identified strategies, including establishing a domestic vaccine manufacturing plant and a national vaccine secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacturing.
These strategies, among others, were being rolled out successfully, he added, citing the setting up of a domestic manufacturing plant by DEK Vaccines Manufacturing Limited, inaugurated in April, this year.
President Akufo-Addo said the short-term goal is to fill, finish and package COVID-19, Malaria, and Tuberculosis vaccines within two years, among others.
In the medium term, the target is to continue to establish, in five years, more domestic plants in Ghana to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard, President Akufo-Addo noted.
The government’s long-term plan, tabled for ten years, is to produce a candidate vaccine using innovative technology.
The 13-member governing board of the national vaccine institute is composed of Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, Chairperson and Prof. William Kwabena Ampofo, Chief Executive Officer of the National Vaccine Institute.
Other members are; Dr. Baffour Awuah, Mustapha Tawiah Kumah, Dr. Daniel Gyingiri Achel, Fredrica Sala Illiasu, Dr. Delese Darko, Prof. Alex Dodoo and Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye.
The rest are; Kofi Nsiah-Poku, Prof. Kofi Opoku Nti, Prof. Gordon A. Awandare and Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson.
In response, the Chairperson of the Governing Board, Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, indicated that their role was cut out for them, explaining that they knew the essence of the institute for Ghanaians. He added that not only would they do their work as the board, but “we pledge to collaborate with agencies that have primary responsibilities…”
The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, in his welcome address at the commissioning of the Secretariat building, indicated that the country would have to transition from GAVI support in 2027, thus the need for the President’s vision to materialise.
He urged stakeholders to collaborate with the National Vaccine Secretariat to achieve their mandate.