Kenya’s quest to start manufacturing human vaccines got a major boost from Korea which has pledged to support the initiative.
The Exim Bank of Korea Friday announced it will fund the establishment of the Human Vaccine Production facility as part of Kenya’s ongoing efforts to enhance its healthcare capacity.
The bank’s Director Ms Minnie Chey revealed that they had already received approval adding that they were working on modalities for a feasibility study that will inform the extent of the support.
The first phase of the project that includes setting up of basic infrastructure is on course with the identification of physical space within Kemsa premises in Embakasi set to host the fill and finish facility.
The government is already engaging international partners involved in vaccine manufacturing to allow for technology transfer as it seeks to enhance the country’s capacity in the area of research and development.
The new development coming a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta on Mashujaa day revealed that the Ministry of Health was setting up a vaccine production plant in the next six months known as Kenya Biovax Limited, that will produce Covid-19 vaccines and others such as polio drops.
According to the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan, Kenya aims to have a fully-fledged vaccine manufacturing capability by 2024.
“The country is well-positioned to manufacture for the regional market. So, there is a need to not only support the manufacture of vaccines but other products as well” said Health CS Mutahi Kagwe Friday during a meeting with top Korean government officials.
Kagwe welcomed the support saying that Kenya remains committed to realize self-sufficiency in the production of healthcare goods and being a regional leader in pharmaceutical products.
He urged the bank to consider extending support to local manufacturers.
The decision to fast-track the development of a human vaccine facility in the country was prompted by the recent shortage of covid-19 vaccines that slowed ongoing mass vaccination drives especially across many African countries.
The last phase involves the establishment of a full-fledged bulk antigen production facility and a biological products research and development center as well as capacity building with a focus on research and development.