Norway supports vaccine production on the African continent

Norway supports vaccine production on the African continent
Norway supports vaccine production on the African continent. Image: Embassy in Accra

DURING his visit to Senegal this week, Norway’s State Secretary Bjørg Sandkjær said the country supports various health initiatives to ensure equal access to vaccines and medicines on the African continent.

Norway said it supports vaccine production on the African continent on Thursday, October 20.

“Sustainable local production and local value chains are central to ensuring access to vital medicines, diagnostics and vaccines,” Bjørg Sandkjær said.

“The experiences from the covid pandemic have shown the vulnerability of the current system with few producers.”

The Norwegian government said: “Internationally, the covid-19 pandemic has shown the importance of local production, particularly on the African continent.

“Africa has been dependent on imports of vaccines and donations from other countries. Before the covid-19 pandemic, only one per cent of the vaccines used on the African continent came from local vaccine production.”

It added: “Access to covid-19 vaccines is still very uneven. While 75 per cent of the population in high-income countries have received the first dose of vaccine, this applies to only 24 per cent of the African population.

“Several countries and regional collaborations, including the African Union, emphasise local vaccine production.”

Sandkjær visited the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, which, among other things, works with research and vaccine production for use throughout the West African region.

She also visited the newly started company Bio Tropix, which produces covid tests.

“The visit to the Institut Pasteur and Bio Tropix in Senegal shows that the world is changing,” she said.

“African countries are clear that they want to be self-sufficient and promote their own research, development and production of medical products.”

She added: “It is crucial that we now get sustainable local production of vaccines, tests and medicines in place.

“We have experienced that vaccine production must be available in case of new outbreaks.

“The factories must be ready, both in Senegal and other African countries.”

Norway contributes to various initiatives to strengthen local production of medicines and vaccines, both financially and through advocacy work, the country’s government said.

“Norway contributed NOK 40 million to the establishment of an mRNA Technology Transfer Hub in South Africa,” it added.

“Senegal is one of the first six countries to adopt the mRNA technology.”

“The Norwegian contribution was part of the support for the Access to Covid-19 Accelerator in 2021,” it said.

The Norwegian government’s investment fund for business activities in developing countries, Norfund, gave a loan of NOK 65 million in 2021 for the production of vaccines in South Africa.

“The Norwegian-based vaccine alliance Cepi supports the Institut Pasteur in developing its vaccine production. The pharmaceutical initiative Unitaid has assisted Bio Tropix.”

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