President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo performed a ground breaking ceremony yesterday for work to begin on the construction of a vaccine manufacturing factory at Midie, in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
Known as the DEK Vaccines Limited and supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), with an amount of the €5million euros, the project is expected to be completed in 2024.
DEK is a private sector led consortium of Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies comprising Danadams, Ernest Chemists and Kinapharma.
The factory will have the capacity to manufacture 600 million doses of various vaccines every year, including vaccines against Malaria, HPV, Pneumonia, Rotavirus and Cholera.
Speaking at the event, President Akufo-Addo said the move formed part of efforts by the government to support local vaccine manufacturing to reduce high dependence on importation.
He stated that the construction of the vaccine manufacturing plant “will help the nation realise the dream of becoming self-sufficient in the production and manufacture of vaccines.”
According to the President, the vision to manufacture vaccines in Ghana begun two years ago, saying “the vaccine nationalism that was played by the developed world with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, meant that we had to take urgent, critical steps towards making sure that never again would we be victims of international vaccine order. It was imperative that we took our destiny into our hands.”
To this end, he indicated the formation of a committee to formulate concrete plan of action towards domestic vaccine development and manufacturing was necessitated.
This action plan he said culminated in the establishment of the National Vaccine Institute with seed funding of US$25 million from the EIB.
“The National Vaccine Institute will coordinate and facilitate the capacity of DEKS Vaccines Limited and other pharmaceutical companies operating under the One District One Factory Initiative,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo thanked the German Government, the EIB, EU and the presidential committee on vaccine manufacturing for their contribution towards the success of Ghana’s vaccine production journey.
On his part, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Irchad Razaaly mentioned that the factory would initially operate as a fill and finish facility and plans to eventually produce its own substance.
This, he said would require considerable investments in all areas of Ghana’s vaccine manufacturing roadmap to provide a conducive eco-system along the entire value chain.
According to the Ambassador, the project was included by the European Commission under the Global Gateway EU-Africa investment package, the EU’s connectivity strategy designed to create smarter, cleaner and more secure links in the digital energy and transport sectors and improve health education and research systems worldwide.
The Managing Director of Dek Vaccines Limited, Dr Kofi Nsiah-Poku in his remarks assured that the project would be completed within the stipulated time and begin the production of first commercial vaccines by 2025.
He explained that the European Commission launched an initiative on Manufacturing and access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies (MAV+) aimed at boosting local manufacturing capacities in Africa and strengthening pharmaceutical systems.
Explaining, he said it was launched two years ago at the G-20global summit in Rome in response to a call made by Africa leaders, including President Akufo-Addo, to boost vaccine production in Africa, adding that Ghana had since joined the MAV+ initiative as a frontrunner alongside Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa.
DEK’s investment of US$122.6 million dollars into the project, he said, would see to the completion of its first phase, providing employment for more than 250 full-time employees.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU