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Jul 2, 2024   |   Blog Post

Localization of the vaccine supply chain in Africa shouldn’t stop at the factory door

By Joseph Roussel

Director & Group Lead, Private Sector Engagement

Gavi recently launched the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA), a financing instrument that will provide up to US$ 1 billion to support the growth of Africa’s manufacturing base for vaccines. This is a major development that has the potential to improve health, industrial development and economic growth.

While we should celebrate the AVMA launch, we must also push for a more sustainable impact. That would require funding for the supply chain between the factory and the health worker administering the vaccine.  Currently most vaccines only flow through government systems and are overly dependent on donor funding.

While the AVMA promises to transform vaccine production localization, we also need to revolutionize the downstream supply chain. Many countries already have a thriving pharmaceutical distributor and wholesaler industry that takes orders, stores, moves and delivers high volumes of pharmaceutical products. The building blocks are in place to leverage this industry to manage the downstream vaccine supply chain and benefit from the economies of scale that can come from integrated product flows.

There are major challenges in ensuring distributors and wholesalers are at the needed levels of adherence to WHO Good Distribution Practices. Many national pharmaceutical systems regulators need greater capacity to properly oversee this sector. Despite those challenges, this industry supplies most essential medicines consumed in Africa and has a key role in reducing the volumes of substandard and falsified medical products and medicines.

This broader vision of localization that combines private sector manufacturing and distribution is ambitious, but necessary for the continent’s population to have sustainable access to high quality vaccines and medicines.

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