OKADA, EDO STATE, NIGERIA, 21 JUNE 2021. The Coalition on Dialogue for Africa (CoDA), in partnership with Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital (IUTH), today at Igbinedion University Okada, Nigeria, launched an Independent Task Team on the Development and Equitable, Universal Access to Vaccines and Vaccinations in Africa.
The task team will provide technical guidance for the research, development and manufacturing of vaccines in Africa in collaboration with the African private sector, civil society, philanthropic institutions and other stakeholders.
In an opening statement read by Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily, CoDA Board Member, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chair of CoDA Board, said Africa can meet its needs if resources are better harnessed and channelled productively.
“I have always believed that Africa’s main challenge is not the lack of funds or resources. Our main challenge is the inability to harness available resources to provide customized home-grown solutions needed to address the challenges we see across the continent,” said H.E. Obasanjo.
In her statement, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the African private sector needed to play the role of providing direction to human and economic development on the continent, urging them to get involved in the initiative.
“The private sector is the spirit of any nation because they give direction to human and economic development. When businesses don’t play their role of uplifting morale and helping to raise living standards sustainably, they lose their relevance,” H.E. Nsanzabaganwa said.
This new initiative provides a platform for the involvement of the African private sector in the development, manufacturing and distribution of vaccines in Africa and a connection between African policymakers and relevant stakeholders.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Afreximbank & Chairman, Board of Trustees for the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund; H.E. Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, Nigeria; and Dr Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria, welcomed the initiative and the establishment of the task team. They pledged their support and the support of their institutions towards the initiative.
In his keynote address, H.E. Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Former Governor of Edo State, Nigeria and Deputy Chancellor of Igbinedion University said the CoDA-IUTH initiative will complement similar initiatives on vaccines and vaccinations by the African Union, the World Health Organization, and other partners across the continent.
He announced that Igbinedion University will commit enormous resources towards the establishment of a centre of excellence to support vaccines research, development and manufacturing in Africa.
The CoDA Independent Task Team on the Development and Equitable, Universal Access to Vaccines and Vaccinations in Africa will be chaired by Prof. Godwin Bazuaye, Chief Medical Director, Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital, with members made up of key experts from Africa and other continents.
CoDA and IUTH signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow them to jointly lead and coordinate the initiative.