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Nigeria to begin manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine next year —-DG NAFDAC

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.As House of Reps raises the alarm over Omicron

AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja

 

 

Nigeria will commence the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine in 2022 , as the country has met 868 requirements of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

 

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) prof. Mojisola Adeyeye who dropped the hint at  a briefing to mark her 4th Year Anniversary in Office as Director General of the agency in Abuja yesterday said, the agency is awaiting the final approval of the world health body, WHO to kick start the production of the vaccine  next year for immediate use in the country.

 

She said Nigeria now has  what it takes to produce made in Nigeria COVID-19 vaccine in the country, even as she said Nigeria is the second highest reporter of advance effects of COVID-19 virus.

 

The NAFDAC boss who expressed worry that majority of Nigerians are yet to be vaccinated against the dreaded virus, urged those who are yet to take the vaccine to go for it for their good.

 

According to her, “it is better to get vaccinated to prevent death than not to be vaccinated and die “.

 

On the activities of her office for the past four years,  the NAFDAC director General said her administration has turned things around positively in the year under review.

 

She maintained that the regulatory activities of the agency was at a lower ebb when she assumed office, adding that the tireless efforts of her administration has improved the situation.

 

“This Press Conference offers golden opportunity for us to take stock of the flurry of events, regulatory activities, challenges, opportunities and achievements in the last 4 years that took NAFDAC through charting a new course to where the Agency is today. The goal of the last four years is   safeguard public health, strengthen the industry, pursue customer-centric regulatory activities, play pivotal role in the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), enthrone top notch Quality Management System (QMS) and strive towards attaining the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s level 3 Global Benchmarking for Top ranking Regulatory Authorities.

 

“This press conference literally represents a self- assessment and sober reflection on where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going in a futuristic sense as a Regulatory Agency. Permit me therefore to take a cursory look at the situation in NAFDAC on 30th November, 2017 when I took over the helms of affairs. Regrettably, I met an Agency whose regulatory activities were at the lowest ebb, staff morale was low, glaring cases of indiscipline and labour union strikes as well as general lack of administrative focus and direction. I knew the regulatory framework was weak and therefore needed systemic overhauling.

 

“I quickly realized that it will take putting in place seven internationally defined building blocks that are based on World Health Organization recommendations in order to strengthen the Agency. For strong regulatory framework, a quality system approach or template must be in place that places premium on the customer. Therefore, we decided to adopt an agency-wide quality management system (ISO 9001) that took the entire staff through training (from February 2018-June 2019) in use of self-auditing, standard operating procedures, proper documentation, transparency, digitalization of her processes, etc.

 

” ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Certification: Under my leadership, Quality Management System (QMS) has been entrenched in the Agency with all our processes procedure driven. The Agency was ISO 9001:2015 Certified in June 2019. NAFDAC has been received recertification in 2020 and 2021. This continued recertification is based on continual improvement (self-audit) in regulatory culture to always put the customer first.

 

“The WHO Benchmarking Programme (ISO 9004) commenced in January 2018 and since then we have imbibed a culture of self – audit as part of WHO-Global Benchmarking requirements and in line with International Best Practices. We have continued to improve our maturity level since the first WHO Audit in June 2019. We have been working towards attaining Maturity Level 3 to enable Nigeria to strengthen our systems and to enable Nigeria to manufacture vaccines. This is also based on continuous self-audit in all or regulatory processes that could improve the image of the Agency and Nigeria.  This year, the WHO officials were in the country to audit our activities and I can report back to you that they were glad about what they saw on ground. Basis for their satisfaction is on the different building blocks that NAFDAC has put in place as stated below:

 

” In January 2018 NAFDAC had 186 recommendations to satisfy. About a month ago, the Agency had fulfilled all the recommendations. What did we do?

 

 

” Under my leadership, the Agency has been restructured and expanded in structure from thirteen (13) Directorates to eighteen Directorates (including the FCT). The five newly created Directorates are Laboratory Services; 1) Legal, 2) Yaba Central Drug Laboratory, 3) Kaduna Area Laboratory, 4) Agulu Zonal Laboratory and 5) Food Registration and Regulatory Affairs. Other restructuring that has happened include the upgrade of our six (6) Zonal Offices, FCT and Lagos Offices to Directorate status and are all now headed by Directors thereby creating more vacancies and enhancing career progression at the directorate cadre.

As part of the restructuring, directorate-focused budgeting was instituted

 

” Imet a N3.2 billion debt but confronted this big challenge with great resolve to change the negative narrative by working relentlessly with the Finance and Accounts Directorate.  The following changes took place within a year.

 

“Bringing financial sanity to the Agency by stepping down all fictitious claims.

Introducing budget discipline to all financial activities in NAFDAC.

Reducing the Debt Profile of N3.2 billion naira of the Agency to zero as at 20th November, 2018.

Introducing cost effective measures thereby steadily increasing the Agency’s cash position in TSA.

Put both human and material resources in place that have resulted in boosting the Agency’s internally generated revenue significantly and also reducing recurrent expenditure drastically

Payment of N14,246,499.00 Severance Allowance for the first time in the history of the Agency to the staff who retired from NAFDAC between July and September 2018

Discovery and recovery of N106,590,298.52 erroneously credited to another MDA in 2015 as a result of deep reconciliation exercise carried out in Final Account unit.

 

“Recovery of 533 million naira evaded administrative charges (2014 to 2017) from stakeholders by the Ports Inspection Directorate, of

Completion of Management Account for year 2016 up-till date.

Putting machinery in place to ensure that all statutory deductions are remitted in due course while contractors and staff claims no longer suffer unnecessary delay.

 

 

“Maintaining all Books of Accounts in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Demanding regular financial information for guidance in decision-making.

 

“Staff Motivation, Development and Training: Part of effective governance is having a well-motivated staff body to share the vision of making the Agency strong.

 

“Under my leadership, staff training, and capacity development has been given great priority in the Agency. No fewer than 3,600 staff have been trained and retrained in the last four years. Similarly, Staff are being encouraged to undertake academic programmes to improve their expertise on the job provided it does not interfere with their official assignments. With a transparent and quality-driven work environment that is expected of a regulatory agency, our staff are now well motivated, disciplined and more dedicated.

 

“Prior to 2018, many times when staff are going for inspection, a company will need to send a vehicle which should be an anathema in a regulatory agency. Since 2018, 40 utility vehicles that are critical have been purchased while 73 vehicles are being processed by the Agency. These vehicles are Hilux vans for the state offices for the operation of the agency.

It’s my believe that every state should have at least three vehicles for operation as an essential tool for the agency. Before I assumed office, the newest vehicles in the agency were bought as far back as 2014. Because of the rate of usage, most of them are ramshackle. These are the vehicles that are always on the road. The directors too don’t have vehicles. The contract for the 73 vehicles has been awarded and by December or January the vehicles will be distributed amongst the directors for official use. There has been a tremendous increase in staff welfare. There have been some allowances that were not in existence before. We are pursuing the possibility of creating another salary structure for the staff while we are also pursuing the National Salaries, Wages Commission for the possibility of getting additional allowance that we never enjoyed before. For instance, we are looking at how we can increase our hazard allowance, regulatory allowance, and others like that to make our staff well-motivated and more”, the DG said.

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