The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Friday expressed confidence that Nigeria would soon start manufacturing vaccines, with the upgrading of existing laboratories across the country.
She disclosed that achieving the ISO 9001 in June 2019, which is the world’s most recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard, places the country in good standing to strive to get to maturity level three, which enables the country manufacture its own vaccines.
Adeyeye also noted that the Agency is leveraging technology to trace vaccines, especially when the covid-19 vaccines arrives the country. She explained that this will enable it track and trace vaccines received, to ensure that they are safe and monitored for adverse reactions on patients.
Speaking during the NAFDAC’s Staff Recognition Award Ceremony for 2019 and 2020, where serving and retired staff were awarded for excellence and dedication, Prof. Adeyeye said, “NAFDAC is a leading national regulator in Africa. The Agency is driven by international standards and best practices.
“Our new normal started three years ago when we started quality management system that now makes us to focus more on the customers, the image of the organisation in order to ensure that we are a standard operating procedure-driven organisation. This led us to achieving ISO 9001 in 2019 June. We moved on to the global benchmarking where we adopted international best practices and we are still adopting international best practices.
“With regards to the establishment of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) global benchmarking and adoption of international best practices, we want to get to maturity level three so that Nigeria can manufacture her own vaccines, and we are all working on this every day.
“We are upgrading the agency’s laboratories to international standards using equipment that are compliant to ISO 17025. NAFDAC laboratories are changing very rapidly with improvements in new equipment and supplies.
“Our four laboratories that were accredited before I came have received re-accreditation. We have also gotten a new lab – the Yaba Biologies and Vaccines Lab accredited for the first time. And our two other labs will be accredited very soon.”
She added: “In similar efforts to enhance the local production of pharmaceuticals in Nigeria, the agency has renewed and updated its 5 + 5 validity policy because we want local content. We want more local manufacturing – to reverse it from 70 percent imports to 70 percent locally manufactured products.
“We are building traceability because our supply chain is chaotic to say the least. Now we have adopted traceability of track and trace that will make sure that the products that leave the manufacturers site is what the patient is taking. This is a technologically-driven initiative, and NAFDAC is the second country in Africa to adopt this. We are using this for covid-19 vaccines when they come.
“NAFDAC is leading on the continent in terms of ensuring that the covid-19 vaccines can be tracked and traced to the patients and also adverse long reactions can be monitored. This is our new normal and it is because we are changing the way we think because we want to safeguard the health of our people.”
Concerning the Agency’s financial status, the NAFDAC boss said, “We created directorate for cost budgeting because part of quality management system is to have financial sanity. I inherited N3.2 billion debt.
“NAFDAC is now solvent because we have removed NAFDAC from insolvency by paying the debt of N3.01 billion in one year. We have learnt lessons, and we are still learning lessons of how not to be wasteful, and how to conserve for the rainy day.”