By Mourice Seretta
African Union envoy on infrastructure, Raila Odinga, has challenged the continent to speed up production of its own vaccines, saying that it will be a great step in the right direction.
Raila said that Kenya as a country can easily be the pharmaceutical and biotechnology hub of East Africa.
“Climate Change is causing new and lethal diseases, so we need to act with speed,” Raila said.
The Orange Democratic Party (ODM) leader highlighted that trusted partnership will be critical in advancing the vaccine manufacturing agenda on the continent.
As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa has been very slow in embracing vaccinating its masses.
However, the continent has so far been the least-affected by the pandemic. So far it has recorded over 4.3 million cases which include about 114,000 deaths.
On Wednesday, the African Union announced a partnership to manufacture vaccines at five research centers to be built on the continent within the next 15 years.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations which helps run the global Covax coronavirus vaccine-sharing programme with the public-private alliance Gavi and the World Health Organization, signed a memorandum of understanding to boost African vaccine research and development as well as manufacturing.
“The partnership with CEPI symbolises cooperation and collaboration to help respond to infectious disease threats and ensure Africa’s health security.” Raila sateted.