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Malaria, cholera, Ebola… World summit in Paris to produce more vaccines in Africa

Malaria, cholera, Ebola… World summit in Paris to produce more vaccines in Africa

Malaria, cholera, Ebola… World summit in Paris to produce more vaccines in Africa

Several African leaders, donors and pharmaceutical groups will gather this Thursday in Paris to speed up vaccine production in Africa. This Global Forum on Vaccine Innovation and Sovereignty is co-organized by France, the African Union and the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), an organization that helps low-income countries introduce vaccines against 20 diseases.

A funding mechanism worth more than a billion dollars is expected to be announced, while Africa currently produces only 2% of the vaccines it uses.

This financial system is “good for Africa and for the world, because no one is safe until everyone is safe,” stressed French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host, Vaccine Alliance President Jose Manuel Barroso and the current president. African Union spokesman Mohamed Sheikh El-Ghazouani in a column published Wednesday.

The issue of unequal access to vaccines on the African continent was highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic four years ago. However, localized production around the world is seen as a response to future pandemics.

“Accelerate the introduction of new vaccines”

“We must continue to invest in vaccinations as one of the answers to global challenges such as climate change, conflict and economic instability,” said Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, head of financing at the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI).

This involves “accelerating the introduction of new vaccines and expanding coverage of routine vaccines,” the official said, citing vaccines against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that kills 500,000 children each year, most of them in Africa, and immunization. “more than 120 million girls in the coming years against cervical cancer.”

Particular attention will also be paid to funding cholera vaccines, the production of which must continue to be increased to cope with shortages. A prevention campaign against the Ebola virus has also recently been launched, mainly among caregivers.

The organization Gavi also indicates that it has been asked to organize the distribution of doses against the disease “smallpox,” or monkeypox, which particularly affects children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After helping to immunize 1 billion children between 2000 and 2020, the Alliance aims to vaccinate another billion by 2030 thanks to donor support.

Several African heads of state

In addition to accelerating investment in local vaccine production, it will be necessary to “train staff and strengthen the regulatory framework, because having vaccines is good, but they still need to be made accessible,” concludes Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao.

That will be the role of the African Medicines Agency, an African Union initiative created and supported by Europe to oversee authorities selling vaccines and other health products.

“Requirement(African countries, approx. editor) will be there if the vaccine is safe and effective,” says Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, who calls for a “regional approach” to achieve economies of scale in vaccine production.

The event will bring together in Paris the heads of several African states (Senegal, Ghana, Rwanda and Botswana), the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), banks and vaccine manufacturers already present in Africa. In addition to discussing health issues, Emmanuel Macron needs to talk to several of his African colleagues.

Source: Le Parisien

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