Kenya will soon start manufacturing its own human vaccines after the government set aside Sh2.5 billion to install a vaccine manufacturing plant in Nairobi.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has said the plant will be installed at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority premises in Embakasi, and will be managed by the government-backed Kenya Biovax Institute Limited.
“We are not just talking about Covid-19 vaccines, we are talking about other vaccines such as those for polio, malaria that we can make in the country,” he said.
The CS further said vaccine manufacturing is not in itself a money-spinner, but added that it is necessary for the government to do so, just like South Africa and India had done with their serum institutes, which are government-backed.
“We have three go downs at the KeMSA premises in Embakasi which we are going to renovate and funds will be spent on installation of the machine and not construction of new buildings,” said Kagwe during a workshop with the Editors Guild a Malindi Beach resort.
“We do not want any compromises. We do not want people making calls to see whether they can participate. Unless you have been in that business; unless you are the serum institute, don’t bother. We are going to work with the best minds across the globe to ensure that Kenyans get value for their money,” he said.
“For the first time the country is going to be able to manufacture all kinds of vaccines and this will cut on costs and dependence on donors. We cannot rely on donors forever and Kenya is not poor and we can support our people provided we use the money efficiently,” he added.
The CS said everything will be done in a transparent manner and that whoever the government will work with must be of a global standing position.
He said whatever the government will use will be better off, compared to what has been done elsewhere in terms of vaccine manufacturing.
“The important thing is that is a big step for Kenya. This is the first time since independence that we are actually going to vaccine manufacturing and it is going to see reduction in the costs of vaccines and also ensure seamless availability of vaccines because it is possible to for us to have money and not access them.
Editors, led by the President of the Kenya Editors Guild, Churchill Otieno, called on the Ministry of Health to avail information to the media for the public to know what is happening in government.
Nation Media Group’s Managing Editor for Health, Bernard Mwinzi, said that access to information had been made easier, but more needs to be done to achieve the required results.
“I should say that access to information from the Ministry of Health has improved a lot, but there is still a lot of work to be done to open the doors to journalists to tell these important stories,” he said.
By KNA Malindi