ZAMBIA has engaged Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance on its path to build a robust local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in the bid to facilitate for the attainment of universal access to efficacious and safe vaccines at cost-effective rates.
And Gavi has since pledged to aid Zambia with expertise to build its pharmaceutical industry as that was priority to the Alliance.
Health Minister Sylvia Masebo highlighted to Gavi, Executive Director the need for the country to be supported in its quest as there was demand for vaccines not only in-country but in the Southern African Region considering the many public health threats and vaccine preventable diseases.
Ms Masebo shared that Zambia was strategically land-linked with a growing economy creating a conducive environment for investments.
This was shared at the side-lines of the on-going 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Global Fund Headquarters.
Ms Masebo added that the country was grappling with a number of vaccine preventable diseases hence the need to set up a vaccine manufacturing industry that would lessen the burden and reduce the cost of vaccine acquisition.
The Minister’s quest is in tandem with President Hakainde Hichilema’s call for a viable Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry when he officiated the inaugural Zambia-EU Pharmaceutical Forum earlier this year.
In 2022, the Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo called for the strengthening of the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in order to help Zambia attain universal access to affordable efficacious and safe medicines during the Zambia Pharmaceutical Forum which gave birth to the Zambia-EU Forum.
In response, GAVI Director Core Countries Colette Selman informed the Zambian delegation that their request was in line with the Alliance’s priorities to bring new manufacturers and suppliers to the global space hence promising to offer Zambia the expertise required in the process.
Ms Selman said that adding more suppliers and manufacturers of vaccines would lower the costs of vaccine acquisition for emergency response.
Zambia, like many other countries, is faced with a burden of communicable diseases that could be vaccine prevented. For example, the on-going Polio and Measles outbreaks in Southern Africa are an indicator for systems strengthening and loud call for increased supply of vaccines in the region.