The Government’s plans to set up a vaccine production plant in Nairobi’s Embakasi in the next six months has received a major boost from Korea which has pledged to support the move.
The Exim Bank of Korea has expressed its readiness to support the country establish a Human Vaccine Production facility as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to enhance its healthcare capacity.
In a meeting between Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, Exim Bank of Korea director Minnie Chey and senior Korean government officials revealed that the bank has already received approval to support the initiative.
“The bank is working on modalities for a feasibility study that will inform the extent of the support,” said Chey.
Speaking during the meeting, the health CS welcomed the support saying Kenya remains committed to realise self-sufficiency in production of healthcare goods and a regional leader in pharmaceutical products.
This even as he urged the Exim bank of Korea to consider extending support to local manufacturers.
“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” observed Kagwe.
According to Mutahi, 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 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 last phase involves the establishment of a full-fledged bulk antigen production facility and a biological products research and development centre as well as capacity building with a focus on research and development.
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.
Among those who attended the meeting included Bong Jun Kim, the Korean Director at the ministry of economy and finance, Young Joon Yoon, the Korean Deputy Director Ministry of economy and finance, Sangin Kang, the Korean chief liaison to Kenya, Prof. Matilu Mwau, the Senior principal scientist at Kemri and Rose Mudibo, Director liaison and administration, at the office of the Cabinet Secretary.