President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday swore in a 13-member governing board of the newly established National Vaccine Institute (NVI), with a former Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, as its chairman.
Other members are the Chief Executive of the institute, Prof. William Kwabena Ampofo; Dr Baffour-Awuah, Mustapha Tawiah Kumah, Dr Daniel Gyingiri Achel, Fredrica Sala Illiasu and Dr Delese Darko.
The rest are Prof. Alex Dodoo, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Kofi Nsiah-Poku, Prof. Kofi Opoku Nti, Prof. Gordon A. Awandare and Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson.
The functions of the board include facilitating partnerships for vaccine and serum research, mobilising resources for vaccine and serum research, development and manufacture.
Others are facilitating the establishment of domestic vaccine manufacturing plants and market development, technology transfer arrangement with vaccine developers and the pharmaceutical industries, and advising the Health Minister on matters of policy, among others.
The President later inaugurated a two-storey building to house the institute at Cantonments in Accra.
The institute has so far received $25 million for its operations.
The front view of the National Vaccine Institute
President Akufo-Addo urged members of the board to help forge bilateral and multilateral partnerships for vaccine deployment and manufacture, funding of clinical trials, technology transfer, human capital development, licensing and assignment of intellectual property rights.
He said already, the national vaccine committee, which was now the national vaccine institute, had achieved some milestone in its operations which included the development of a roadmap for vaccine development and manufacture in the country.
It has also supported the upgrade of laboratory facilities of the Food and Drugs Authority to achieve WHO maturity level Four and entered into international collaboration with Rwanda, Senegal and an MRNA vaccine technology company, Deontic of German, on a fill-finished project for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The President further said that it helped in the establishment of a local vaccine manufacturing plant by Atlantic Life Sciences and the DEK Vaccines Manufacturing, and also set up the national vaccine institute and secretariat.
He assured the board of the government’s support and non interference in their activities, but he urged them to engage in further stakeholder consultations to ensure the successful fulfilment of the institute’s mandate.
President Akufo-Addo thanked the EU, the German government, the European Investment Bank and the WHO for their assistance in establishing the facility.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Dr Asamoa-Baah expressed appreciation for the honour done them, and described the institute as a legacy of the country’s response to COVID-19.
He said their remit was part of the broader national vaccine agenda because “as a nation we still have challenges with vaccine literacy, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine shortage and vaccine financing.
The chairman pledged to collaborate with agencies and institutions to achieve the desired results as entailed in their mandate