By: Ismael Kasooha
The Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Nabbanja Robinah has commissioned the first private vaccination and storage centre in Kampala, Vaccines Access Initiative (VAI).
Nabbanja, who was accompanied by the Minister for Health Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng, while commissioning the facility, lauded President Yoweri Museveni for creating an enabling environment that has enabled the private sector players to thrive.
“This initiative that taps into the strength of the private sector in rolling out vaccination against COVID-19, VAI symbolizes the strengthening of private and public partnership efforts. Government is determined to make use of every effort to ensure that many Ugandans get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to prevent any possible resurgence of infections,” says Nabbanja.
The premier said that it has been proven scientifically that vaccination works and it prevents infections from developing into severe disease leading to death.
“The involvement of private partners like Microheam therefore, is a step towards that objective. As you know, the private sector remains a key player in implementing government programs and shaping the direction of this nation as a whole,” said Nabbanja.
She said that the private sector presents many benefits including the fact that there are no unnecessary bureaucracies, there is prompt decision making, a focus on results and higher levels of customer care.
“We would like to see the public sector pick and follow some examples of the private sector in delivery of services,” stressed Nabbanja.
The premier encourages the Ministry of Health in partnership with Microhaem to expand this vaccination initiative across the country.
Nabbanja lauded H.E President Yoweri Museveni for the exemplary and wise leadership he has and continues to provide in the fight against COVID-19 and other health related challenges facing the country.
PM with staff is VAI at the commissioning
“The wise and timely decisions the President led the country into enabled Uganda to be among the best countries in managing COVID-19 response in the world,” said Nabbanja.
She said that Uganda is blessed but most importantly appreciates the President’s commitment to support investments in local manufacturing of vaccines and other drugs.
“COVID-19 has taught us lessons about the need to develop local capacity to deal with our health and other challenges. I thank Microhaem for heeding the President’s call to build the capacity to manufacture vaccines and other selected pharmaceuticals,” said Nabbanja.
She pledged, on behalf of Government, to support these initiatives to ensure that these efforts succeed in the interest of Ugandans.
She called upon the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance as key stakeholders in implementing the Presidential directive on supporting local manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals to take all the necessary actions to ensure that efforts like this one succeed.
Nabbanja said that the NRM government is promoting public-private partnerships because of the contribution made by the private sector in the development of the country.
Paul Mugambe, the Mayor Nakawa Division, commended government for supporting the private sector.
“This is the way to go if our country is to develop and I commend the government for supporting local capacity development,” said Mugambe.
Dr. Cedric Akwesigye, the Managing Director, Vaccines Access Initiative said that the government had helped the private actors to advance in research by ensuring there is peace and stability in the country.
He added that the establishment of the facility was driven by the scarcity of vaccines when the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic while the western countries were having access due to the availability of the facilities.
Abaine Adam Abdul, the Chairman Uganda Medical Diagnostics Association said that the county needed to invest more in the health sector diagnosis and prevention.
The Vaccines Access Initiative, has the capacity to vaccinate at least 4,000 clients per day and has a storage capacity of over 20 million doses.
The facility will soon start manufacturing vaccines in the country according to Dr. Akwesigye, the Managing Director of the initiative.