VIA to Produce Vaccines, Drugs and Test Kits locally by January 2023
By Our Reporter
Kampala – Uganda has been spending over USD46m in acquiring test kits for Malaria, TB, HIV and vaccines, but because of Covid-19 challenges, young and brilliant Ugandans led by Dr Cedric Akwesigye through Vaccine Initiative Access (VIA) together with partners of H-vax have come up with a long lasting solution of manufacturing these consumables locally.
This was revealed last week during a courtesy visit by the state minister for finance in-charge of investment and privatisation Evelyn Anite to the ongoing work and the progress of the facility.
The plant will by January 2023 be locally manufacturing daily a total of two million HIV test kits, 1.5million cancer test kits, five million TB test kits and Covid-19 vaccines. This will definitely answer the long awaited hopes that Uganda has been yearning to have these medical supplies locally made than importing them.
While speaking to journalists during the minister’s visit Dr Cedric Akwesigye; the chief executive officer of Vaccine Initiative Access (VIA), said the project started in 2021 and in their plan they intended to manufacture three major products that is; HIV testing kits, drugs and vaccines and according to their plan by January 2023, the country will be able to have one of these products.
Dr Akwesigye further explained that according to what has been achieved through their partners, the first phase has so far been completed and engineers have so far confirmed that by end of October they will be handing over the factory ready to the manufacturer.
Thereafter, the last phase will take a minimum of three months to produce and test the products until all the specification to meet the standards for product use are done.
He also stated that the facility and products are at the level of World Health Organisation (WHO) with much expertise from outside partners who have been in the country imparting the technology to local Ugandans (Technology transfer) who will thereafter run the facility.
He added that the remaining phase needs an about of USD200m, so he implored the government through the ministry the finance, to give a hand by supporting the initiative to have the products by January 2023, and put them on both local and international markets most specifically within the East African Community.
Dr Akwesigye also noted that by end of October the first batch of experts will be departing and another batch will be come in to finalize the last phase of production.
He emphasized that they are working very carefully with very expensive technologies to meet WHO standards and that once they meet it, then the products will be passed on the international market.
State minister Evelyn Anite appreciated the work done by Dr. Cedric Akwesigye and partners for the initiative. She lauded them for walking the talk by hearing President Museveni’s call for growth on pathogenic equipments and that Akwesigye his partners are driving the pathogenic economy of having the test kits, drugs and vaccines in the country.
Anite further explained that her main intention was to witness and confirm that the products can be manufactured locally as she added:
“As a minister of investment, the government and the President has given a clear directives on supporting the pathogenic economy. We have non-tax incentives and tax incentives from which Akwesigye has been able do his business in this country,” Anite said. She added that Akwesigye is already benefiting from the incentives and he will continue to benefit more from the government especially in terms of Market.
“Am going to hear the needs of the company and take them to attention of the government and see how much more it can be supported. If it’s financial support, tax exemptions are clear rules, then he will be supported,”. She added.
She assured them of total support by the government.