By Bisi Olaniyi, Southsouth Bureau Chief
THE Executive Secretary, Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CODA), Ms Souad Aden-Osman, has disclosed that the group has vowed to track African scientists across the world to produce globally-acceptable vaccines to tackle Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and other health challenges.
She also urged African leaders to seek ways of improving the health care system, which according to her, would lead to less reliance on Europe, America and others, as witnessed at this time of the dreaded COVID-19.
The Executive Secretary, yesterday at a news conference in Benin, revealed that an Independent Task Team on the Development of Vaccines and Equitable Universal Access to Vaccines and Vaccination in Africa would be launched at a workshop tomorrow (Monday), to be hosted by Igbinedion University in Okada, Edo State.
She noted that the launch was to ensure that measures were designed to prepare the African continent to face any global health challenge that might break out in the future, rather than relying on foreign medical solutions.
Aden-Osman said: “The development of vaccines and the improvement of the health care system should be private sector-driven, with the governments in African countries coming together to create an enabling environment.
“We must make sure that the private sector comes in forcefully. We need to believe in ourselves. The same energy used to chase out colonial masters should be used to battle the pandemic and any future health challenge.”
“Already, countries like Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria and Senegal have the capacity to produce vaccines, while so many others are ready to also be part of it. The current pandemic should trigger the need to work together, because if it does not, I do not know what will.”
President of the Pan-African Manufacturers’ Association, Mandir Ahmed, while also speaking, stated that the continent had the capacity to produce what we needed and consume what we produce, if the right steps were taken.