ECOWAS must pull resources to compete in vaccines acquisition – WAHO

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By Ifeanyi Nwoko

West African Organisation (WAHO) has called ECOWAS leaders to pull resources together so as to compete favourably acquiring Vaccines.

Prof. Stanley Okolo, Director General of WAHO disclosed this when he addressed ECOWAS at opening of its Virtual Second Extra-Ordinary session.

Prof. Okolo disclosed the sub-region was also looking at locally manufacturing its test kits rather continuously procuring abroad, adding WAHO will support to institutions conducting such researches.

“We think we should pull financial resources order to compete favourably acquiring Vaccines.

“We are supporting some of the industries terms of , we thing that should also help support them through -Public Partnership (PPP).

“At the moment, the one industry that is definitely looking at diagnostic test is the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal and we have signed an MoU with them and we have put some seed funding aside which we will invest in them.

“We think that this institute, if the tests are available the end of this month or early next month, West Africa can buy at very cheap cost.

“We are looking at about two dollars or three dollars, whereas you find that the similar test kit in the open is about 9 dollars or 10 dollars.

“We are really trying as much as possible to go strategically to ensure that we support our West African region but also we broker easy purchase at competitive price for all our 15 countries,” he said.

He maintained that there was need for internal funding by member rather than continuous reliance foreign partners to achieve milestones in the sector.

He said that in order for West Africa to handle uts needs, nations must strife implement the declaration allocating 15 per cent of Budgets to the health sector.

“We cannot do all these with only foreign partners funding , therefore domestic health financing is really key.

“We need to ensure that budgets meet the 15 per cent declaration.

“We understand that if you have countries like Mali spending about 25 per cent of their budgets on Security how much more have they got to share in order to get that 15 per cent.

“That is why in WAHO we have also been advocating with the external world, the forgiveness of public debt.

“But we still have to come back to the fact that we ourselves have to look at how we can improve domestic financing and ensure that every dollar is utilised appropriately.,” he said.