Understanding the Existential Challenges of Covid 19 Vaccine Development and Procurement in Africa: Emphasis on South Africa.
The recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan city, in central China and the “earlier threat of infectious pathogens” underscored the need for the development of vaccines against the present and emerging communicable diseases in Africa and the global community. The speed with which western multinational pharmaceutical giants embarked on covid-19 vaccine production with success has no doubt revolutionized the “norm and tradition” of vaccine research and development. The study examined the existential challenges confronting Africa in her attempt to compete with the rest of the world in the production, procurement, distribution and administration of covid-19 vaccines, using South Africa as a case study. The researcher utilized relevant literature sources to examine the nagging factors that constitute barrier in realizing the above challenges. The paper revealed that western neglect of African traditional medicines, inadequate storage facilities, corruption, lack of funding and research collaboration among African states are the key factors that derailed African attempts to finding remedies to covid-19 pandemic. The study posits the use of African indigenous medicine, moratorium on intellectual property rights, infrastructure development, sustainable research and development funding and collaboration as the ley-way for public health advancement in Africa. The paper concludes that so long as Africa continued to promote western medicine to the detriment of her indigenous herbs and healing practices, the problem of public health care in Africa will continue unabated.
Key words: Existential challenges, Covid-19 vaccine, Development, Procurement, South Africa, Africa