Posted: Sunday, April 23, 2023. 4:54 pm CST.
By Breaking Belize News Staff: The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) announced its collaboration with the Government of Canada to strengthen manufacturing capacities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The goal is to increase safe and timely access to vaccines, with a focus on messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines against COVID-19 and other diseases. The funding of $11.1 million for the initiative is provided by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa emphasized the importance of regional production capacities for medical products in ending the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and achieving universal access to health. Jason Tolland, Director General for South America and Inter-American Affairs at GAC, expressed Canada’s commitment to addressing barriers to equitable access to vaccines by supporting regional manufacturing initiatives in low- and middle-income countries.
The region imports six times more pharmaceuticals than it exports, making it vulnerable to global supply fluctuations, especially during emergencies. The new initiative will promote coordination across countries and public and private partners, strengthen national regulatory systems and policies, and support PAHO’s Regional Platform for Advancing the Production of Vaccines and Other Health Technologies for COVID-19 in the Americas.
The project will include ongoing work with the mRNA Vaccine Technology Transfer Program, a multilateral collaboration by the World Health Organization, the Medicines Patent Pool, and other partners. The program aims to facilitate mRNA vaccine manufacturing technology transfer to low- and middle-income countries.
Over the next two years, PAHO will assist Bio-Manguinhos (Brazil) in planning and implementing clinical trials for vaccine development and support Sinergium Biotech (Argentina) in technology transfer and acquisition of necessary equipment for vaccine production. PAHO will also produce a guide for establishing vaccine manufacturing pilot facilities and develop tools to assess country readiness for vaccine development.
Canada’s overall support for boosting manufacturing capacities for vaccines and medicines in low- and middle-income countries was announced last year by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the G20 Summit. The funding adds to wider support provided by Canada since 2021 to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable populations in the Americas.
In recent years, PAHO has assisted 37 countries and territories in increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines and supported 32 countries and territories in expanding cold chain storage and transportation capacities. Additionally, the organization has implemented activities with a specific focus on gender and ethnicity, including actions to bring vaccines to remote communities and empower marginalized groups to communicate effectively about vaccines.
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