EU Strengthens Partnership with WHO to Boost Vaccine Access in Africa
The European Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO) are strengthening their partnership to improve equitable access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced today in Geneva.
The EU–WHO partnership will assist the African Union in reaching its target of increasing local vaccine production, in Africa and for Africa. It will also support the achievement of African Union objectives in areas such as jobs and growth, trade, and scientific cooperation.
The financial contribution of €24.5 million from the EU supports three main categories of action, regulatory strengthening, technology transfer, and demand consolidation and strategic purchasing.
WHO is facilitating technology transfer for local production in Sub-Saharan Africa, in close cooperation with national, continental, and global stakeholders (COVAX Manufacturing Task Force). The EU will support the mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa, technology transfer across the region, and the development of the workforce. Total EU and Member States’ support to the hub reaches €40 million.
The EU and WHO will support African partners, at national, regional and continental levels in strengthening regulatory frameworks and functions. This is part of a broader package of support for regulatory strengthening to create an enabling and innovative environment for the local manufacturing of vaccines, medicines and health technologies. This will reinforce the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) initiative and the African Medicines Agency.
The EU and WHO will assist African leaders and communities in defragmenting demand and better forecasting needs, thus enhancing markets for locally produced commodities.
Commissioner Urpilainen said: “The European Union and WHO share a common ambition to boost local production capacity and access to quality, safe, effective and –importantly – affordable medicines and vaccines. Under the Team Europe initiative for local manufacturing in Africa, today with Dr. Tedros we agreed on stepping up support to our African partners in tackling some of the main barriers to access and availability, with concrete projects financed with at least €24.5 million from the EU budget. Together, we are strengthening the foundations of resilient health systems, universal health coverage and health security for now and in the future.”
On the occasion of her mission to Geneva, Commissioner Urpilainen also announced support worth €14.4 million over three years to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). These funds will support the Office Management Plan of OHCHR and are part of the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism.