By Zayamu Hassan
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said that for vaccine production to begin in the country, there is the need for training of those involved.
Director General of the agency, Prof. Christian Adeyeye stated this while responding to questions from journalists after the formal launch of the 73 vehicles for use by NAFDAC for its operations in Abuja.
She noted that vaccine production involves a lot of work, hence, the need for training and retraining.
“Nigeria can now manufacture its own vaccine. NAFDAC only set guidelines. If a company want to manufacture vaccine, they come to us and we give them guidelines. It is very important and very costly to do.
“One of the realities that we have to face is training. We have to train people, making vaccine is a lot of work they have to do.
“The good thing is that we have the human capital. We have Veterinary Institute in Vom; they have been manufacturing animal vaccine for 75 years. They have the intellectual capacity. They will play a big role to support the human vaccine production.
“We have National Institute of Medical Research, we have National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), we have many in the country. In terms of capacity building, we just have to harvest and work with each other,” she said.
She disclosed that NAFDAC has keen interest on producers of both sachet and bottle water and that her agency is, on a daily basis, shutting down companies that are producing substandard water.
“We have interest in sachet and bottle water day and night. Everything that is going to make our people safe, healthier, yes.
“As we speak, we are shutting down water companies in Abuja, Lagos and different parts of the country. Companies that did not even register with us.
“You will be surprise to see the unhygienic surrounding of some water producers. We keep getting information about such and we keep shutting them down.
“If they register with us and they want to compromise their standard, we fine them big so that it will cost their pocket and they will think on how not to hurt our people by water that is not of quality.”
She disclosed that her agency has since begun plans to attain maturity level 4 certification by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Sincerely speaking, to get to Maturity level 4 will take at least one year. But before we announced the maturity 3 level, we already started working on maturity level 4. We are going to have our new vaccine building completed.
“Apart from the maturity level 4, we are going to have a new vaccine lab.
“There was a rumour somewhere that about 70 per cent of our drugs are not good. That is a lie. I can say 15 per cent because we are using risk-base sampling of products that we know can be easily faked.
“As part of our maturity level consideration, we have to show them mechanism in place to go after products that can be easily faked and do a survey and then we get an idea of how much out there that may be fake. Around 13 to 15 per cent but we are going to be mitigating it.
“As we speak, our staff are working in uploading some tools on labtops and we are going to be using a device that cost about 57,000 dollars and we have 40 of them. We will be doing that because that is what they want to see.
“We are also doing track and trace to monitor supply chain, meaning from manufacturer to the users. It is a 5-year national strategy. We are going that to make sure we mitigate substandard falsified medicines. But it is not something we do overnight.
“We are already engaging our local manufacturers to put back that track and trace in place so that we can monitor their own products from the manufacturer to the pharmacists that will dispense them.”
On plans to begin vaccine production in the country, the NAFDAC Director General said that her agency does not produce vaccine but that it provides guidelines.