The Federal Government would ensure private sector participation in the production of generic pharmaceuticals and vaccines, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate, said on Sunday.
Pate told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the first step in that direction was to have a sound regulatory framework in place.
“The first step is to have sound regulatory framework in place, the capacity of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is being enhanced in that direction.
“Manufacture of vaccines is something that has to be done well, given the fact that we need to protect the lives of people,’’ he said.
He, however, stressed that the country was working toward unlocking the market potential of the private sector across the value chain, including the production of generic pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
Besides, Pate noted that the country was making considerable progress in the power sector, adding that the benefits of ongoing power sector reform would have an impact on health care delivery.
It could be recalled that Dr Oyewale Tomori, the Chairman of the Vaccine and Immunisation Advisory Committee, said that the world was currently witnessing a global shortage of yellow fever vaccines.
He said that the shortage was because only four countries produced the serum vaccines worldwide.
Tomori also noted that Nigeria was once producing vaccines but later stopped production, adding, however, that every attempt to revive the production had failed.
On the non-functional state of the Vaccine Research Institute in Lagos, the minister said that management of the institute was ceded over to the private sector in 2007 and that the Federal Government was making efforts to revive the institute.
“The vaccine laboratory in Yaba was handed over to a private sector company in 2007, as part of the Federal Government’s private-public partnership,’’ Pate said.
Also speaking, Dr Ado Muhammad, the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said the agency was working on the power problems facing the primary health care programme.
He said that the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funding would be used to provide solar lighting systems for the Primary Health Centres that would be renovated.
Muhammad was apparently reacting to some allegations that some midwives in Sokoto State used torch light during their management of childbirths due to frequent power outage.
“We are working on the power issue, already with SURE-P funding, there is provision for the installation of solar powered bulbs in many health centres this year,’’ he added.