World Bank Grants Kenya $130 Billion to Establish Vaccines Production Facility

Health Cabinet Susan Nakhumicha and Medical Services Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai launched the Health Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa on May 15, 2024, in Nairobi.

The World Bank will invest $1 billion (approximately Sh130 billion) to support Kenya and seven other African countries with emergency projects and launching human vaccine production in Kenya by 2027.

Kenya is building infrastructure at the Biovax Institute in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. Kimtai mentioned starting with ‘fill and finish’ for packaging vaccines.

The initiative aims to strengthen health emergency preparedness, response, and resilience over seven years in target countries, starting with Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sao Tome and Principe in Phase 1 and later adding Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia in Phase 2.

Kimtai expressed excitement over local vaccine production support to prevent shortages like Covid-19. World Bank Country Director Keith Hansen emphasized the need for improved emergency preparedness after recent events like the pandemic and floods.

Biovax CEO Michael Lusiola mentioned focusing on widely-used childhood vaccines in Kenya. Health CS Susan Nakhumicha highlighted the importance of combating infectious diseases and enhancing public health surveillance, pharmaceutical manufacturing, risk communication, and gender equality.

She stressed the need for building resilience to climate-related risks and strengthening health systems to ensure continued service delivery during calamities. The programme is supported by regional organizations such as the East, Central, and Southern Africa Health Community and Igad.

Prof Yoswa Dambisya, the director general of ECSA-HC, emphasized the program’s role in strengthening health systems and promoting local manufacturing with World Bank support. Igad Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu mentioned the program’s focus on building resilience against pandemics and other emergencies as part of international cooperation efforts declared at the UN General Assembly in 2023.

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