Minister inaugurates Board of production company
The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, formally kicked off local vaccines production in Nigeria, following the inauguration of the Board of Directors of Biovaccines Nigeria Limited recently in Abuja.
Biovaccines Nigeria Limited is a joint venture between the Federal Government and Nigeria’s foremost pharmaceutical company, May&Baker Nigeria Plc.
is partnership comprises a seven member Board with three members from the government, while the other four members are May&Baker designates who will run the day to day management of the business.
In his inaugural speech, Prof Isaac Adewole, stated: “The federal government in collaboration with the May&Baker has taken the bold step towards ending reliance on importation of some vaccines to immunize vulnerable Nigerians against preventable diseases and I believe the board will deliver to make Nigerians proud.
“The members of the board were carefully selected to forestall any room for failure. I commend the company for their patience and effort towards the realization of this project. The name of May and Baker would be written in gold when the project succeeds.”
Eminent Virologist and former Vice Chancellor of the Redeemers University, Professor Oyewole Tomori was announced as the Chairman-designate of the Board. The Executive Secretary/CEO National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib and Director of Food & Drugs, Fed. Min. of Health, Pharm.M. Lawal completes the government team.
The others from May & Baker include Nnamdi Okafor, Managing Director/CEO; Dr. Edugie Abebe, a former Permanent Secretary and current Director, Mr. Ayodeji Aboderin, Executive Director of Finance, May & Baker. An expatriate Managing Director of Biovaccines is also expected to join the board soon.
According to the Managing Director, May and Baker, Nnamdi Okafor, it took over ten years to arrive at the agreement, adding that, “The Company has successfully engaged stakeholder groups to actualize the task of providing Nigeria a sustainable programme of immunisation through local production of vaccines.
“This inauguration signals a new beginning towards actualization of our dream as a Nation to develop capacity for local production of vaccines and biological,” he said.
Chairman of the local vaccine production committee, Prof Oyewale Tomori assured Nigerians of the best saying the country would now be able to “produce those common vaccines from 2021 and beyond.
“Overall, this move became paramount after an outbreak of Meningitis C, which killed many children in 2017 due to lack of emergency health preparedness and reliance on importation of vaccines that were not readily available. Hitherto, thousands of lives have been lost to preventable diseases over the years as well.
“This is good for Nigeria, as the citizens will have swift and unmitigated access to vaccines. Henceforth, Nigeria will be respected as a vaccines producing country on the African continent alongside South Africa (fill finish only), Tunisia (producing limited BCG and rabies), Ethiopia (just starting), Egypt (some DTP and fill finish) and Senegal by Aventis Pasteur producing yellow fever vaccines,” Prof. Oyewole said.