PSN alleges conspiracy against plan to produce local vaccines

Ahmed Yakasai

•Senate mulls national drug rehabilitation centres
•Ministry, MTN move against child, maternal deaths

The plan by the Federal Government to roll out the first locally produced vaccines in July 2019 may not be feasible.

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai, disclosed this yesterday at a press briefing in Lagos.

According to him, the plan was aimed at producing vaccines against Yellow fever, Tetanus Toxoid and Hepatitis B.

Yakasai said: “It is unbelievable that there are so many intrigues. Some people want the process to fail. There are so many interests, even from international bodies. To some, it is either they are involved or it fails. But everything is stabilising now, as the plan is still on, but delayed.

“I have visited the Yellow fever vaccine plant in Yaba, Lagos and work is ongoing. The project is capital intensive, but to make it work better, we are encouraging partnerships.”

He announced that the PSN’s 90th annual national conference, with the theme: “Medicines availability and national security,” would hold in Umuahia, Abia State, from November 6 to 11, 2017.

May and Baker Plc, an indigenous pharmaceutical industry, had in June 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government to begin the production.

The plan also included developing a centre of excellence for research and development of vaccine technology and other biologics.

Yakassai disclosed that the Senate was planning to establish at least, one National Drug Rehabilitation Centre in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country.

On drug abuse especially among the youths, he said: “The uses of cough syrup with codeine, tramadol, rohypnol, and others have experienced an exponential increase.”

He said the PSN had been a strong advocate for local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and the need for government to create a friendly environment for the sector.

According to him, the local production of vaccines and drugs would help the country to respond better to emergencies, generate increased internal revenue and raise the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He identified the challenges facing the sector to include poor funding, delayed and unlawful appointments in regulatory agencies and poor composition structures in the health sector.

Other challenges are the lopsided appointments in federal health institutions, as well as poor cultural attitude to research and development.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the MTN Foundation is launching the Yellow Heart Campaign to meet the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for women and children.

The foundation’s Executive Secretary, Nonny Ugboma, said this in a statement in Lagos.

“Most deaths of mothers and children in our communities can be prevented using existing knowledge and proven cost-effective interventions.

“Sadly, despite multiple interventions by the public and private sectors, Nigeria remains one of the largest contributors to global maternal and child mortality rates,” the statement said.

The collaboration would facilitate the renovation and establishment of 24 maternal wards and mobile clinics nationwide.

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Ahmed YakasaiPSN


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