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LAUNCH OF THE AFRICA UNION CONTINENTAL VACCINE BANK

The Africa Union Continental Vaccine bank was inaugurated on Wednesday, 31st January at the AU-PANVAC facility. The AUC Chairperson H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, graced the occasion which was attended by dignitaries from different Africa Union member states, representatives from all the major vaccine producing institutes in Africa and representatives from partners including FAO and OIE.

Speaking after a tour of the AU-PANVAC facilities, the AUC Chairperson applauded the organization for the remarkable work it was undertaking, noting that technical institutions of the Africa Union continue to accomplish significant achievements which escape notice by the international media.

“Livestock represent an important source of livelihood for millions of people on the continent. As such, we welcome the establishment of the AU Continental Vaccine Bank, as most of the diseases identified by the OIE are found in Africa and have a serious impact on the development and well being of rural people. This bank will ensure that the damage and ravage due to Rinderpest will not recur and aid in eradication of other animal diseases” he said.

On his part, the AU-PANVAC Director, Dr. Nick Nwankpa highlighted the key role played by AU-PANVAC in eradication of Rinderpest through certification of good quality vaccines against the disease. He further went on to recognize the role of partners who have supported the institute including FAO, OIE and Government of Ethiopia who had provided them with additional facilities to setup additional laboratories for testing.

Dr. Nwankpa also emphasized the importance of good quality vaccine in the prevention of outbreaks of animal diseases, noting that in the past year 2017, the organization had tested 381 batches of animal vaccine which represented more than 3 billion doses of animal vaccines. During the ceremony, Dr. Nwankpa detailed other achievements of the organization including production of a bELISA kit for diagnosis of PPR which was already being supplied to some member states at a minimal cost. “ We now hope to shift our focus towards the eradication of PPR from Africa by 2030 and it is worth noting that a huge percentage of vaccine batches sent to AU-PANVAC from member states are against PPR.”

In his final remarks, Dr.Nwankpa detailed his plans to build a new facility that would accommodate all the laboratories at AU-PANVAC under one roof as well as increase the number of technical staff in order to be able to meet the growing demand for their services. He appealed to AUC chairperson as well as partners present for support in getting funds for the new facility.

The AU Continental Vaccine Bank will serve as a holding facility for enough stock of Rinderpest vaccines as well as vaccines against other important animal diseases.