Gavi stakes $1m incentive for firms investing in vaccines 

Uganda is largely a net drug importer. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Dr Ruth Aceng says Gavi has provided the incentive to boost the capacity of low-developing countries in the area of manufacturing particular vaccines 

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) has introduced a scheme that will give a grant of $1m (Shs3.8b) to any vaccine manufacturing company both local and internationally setting up a manufacturing plant in the country.

Gavi is an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children in the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking at the opening of the third edition of the Uganda Health Pharmaceutical Healthcare Expo in Kampala, Health Minister Ruth Aceng, said Gavi had provided an incentive to boost the capacity of low-developing countries in the area of manufacturing particular vaccines 

“Gavi is interested in boosting least developed countries’ capacities in developing and manufacturing vaccines to reduce the burden and dependency on imports,” she said, noting that to create a market for the manufactured vaccines, the Global Fund Alliance had also offered to purchase at least three million doses of such vaccines annually.

The move, apart from boosting local vaccine manufacturing capacity, Ms Aceng said, will be key in enhancing the technology of such countries regarding vaccine manufacturing as well as building a strong human resource capacity.

Uganda is largely a net importer of drugs with a few exceptions such as antiretrovirals (ARVs) manufactured within the country. 

Available data shows that majority of essential medicines and health supplies, which is about 90 percent, are imported, of which 60 percent are distributed through the private sector. 

Dr Aceng said Uganda continues to seek out both local and international companies to invest in its pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, promising several incentives for such companies. 

Ms Pamela Achii, the Uganda Pharmaceuticals Society president, said the transfer of healthcare products technology will transform the country’s ability to manufacture its medicines, thereby reducing importation.

“We would reduce our health care procurement budget, which is currently at 85 percent drastically since the local capacity to manufacture vaccines would have been boosted,” she said.

Mr Ezra Rubando, the Uganda Manufactures Association executive director, said Gavi’s action will propel the healthcare capacity to another level in terms of enhancing manufacturing.