GALVmed is implementing a body of work funded by the European Commission’s Vaccines for the Control of Neglected Animal Diseases in Africa (VACNADA) programme. The aim is to improve the quality and quantity of vaccines produced by selected national laboratories across Africa on a sustainable basis by providing capacity building for their staff and upgrading of laboratory equipment, facilities and processes.
Support provided under the VACNADA project is focused on reducing the impact of four neglected diseases – Newcastle disease, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) and peste des petits ruminants (PPR) through increased access to, and use of, quality vaccines.
The GALVmed newsletter team caught up with managers from the Kenyan and Cameroonian labs to see what they thought about the support they are receiving.
Update on Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI)
“This incubator is older than anyone in this room,” said Dr Jane Wachira, Deputy Managing Director of the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute,- and it certainly looked like it. Dr Wachira was giving a guided tour of her institute to show the impact that the VACNADA programme will have.
The capital investment programme at KEVEVAPI is extensive: The lift is no longer working and will be replaced – currently materials have to be hauled up four storeys by hand. The freeze drier dates back to 1998, but it is about to get an extensive overhaul, including a US$250,000 software upgrade which will help to ensure that the machine stays within its optimal working parameters.
And a new automatic vial sorting machine will significantly increase the efficiency of vaccine packing. A flexistand machine will be provided by VACNADA to concentrate antigen after culture in the new bioreactor. This will improve on efficiency in the antigen harvesting process. VACNADA is also providing a new reverse osmosis machine to improve the quality of water used in the lab.
Dr Wachira said: “The VACNADA investment has made a lot of difference to us. We will be able to produce Newcastle disease vaccine at a higher volume. The new lamina airflow equipment will also reduce the risk of contamination. And staff members have received training in quality control techniques. We also now have new procedures in place and support to maintain these new ways of working. VACNADA is taking us to a new higher level in the four vaccines which were identified as priorities.”
Update on progress from LANAVET, Cameroon
LANAVET was established by the Cameroon government in 1983 with the following objectives:
Much of the equipment in the laboratories has never been replaced and some of it, including the essential freeze drying machine, is out of order. Amongst the vaccines produced by LANAVET, the thermotolerant I-2 strain of Newcastle disease, could be a real opportunity for the backyard poultry and village sector. Other vaccines tackle contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), and peste des petits ruminants (PPR).
LANAVET is an important regional resource: around half of its production is exported to Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and other West African countries and there is potential for further growth in these markets.
LANAVET was selected as one of the labs to benefit from the VACNADA project. This has given it access to both advice and funding to renew or update equipment. It has also been supported to build its skills and knowledge base in regard to marketing. Christian Ndamkou Ndamkou, Marketing and Sales manager at LANAVET, said: “We were very pleased to see how responsive and unbureaucratic the VACNADA programme was, because usually development grants are very prescriptive. The emphasis was always on how we could be supported to get the best out of this experience and investment.
So, we are working with an engineer (Seamus Pender) who is on assignment in LANAVET as part of Zoetis’ Fellows programme. The assignment goals are to help us put in place a regime of preventative maintenance which will support us to have continuous production runs of vaccines. We have had support to help us to assess the equipment we needed to move forward and build our business.
We also had a great deal of support from Fred Musisi the GALVmed VACNADA coordinator. He came to Cameroon to visit the lab and he has been touch with us frequently – offering advice from his considerable experience and helping us to keep the project on track.
The market study has pulled together really useful data and we are now in the process of developing an action plan for the business to increase our income and double our domestic market over the next five years. This will require us to work through some of the barriers to distribution of vaccine, in particular the opening up of the vaccines to veterinarians in private practice, not just the vets who are part of the government service as it is the case at the moment. We also have plans to grow our export markets once we have consolidated our home markets.
VACNADA showed us a much better way of working than many other programmes we have been involved in.”
VACNADA tender updates
GALVmed has recently signed contracts worth €1.8 million (US$ 2.5 million) to upgrade 8 African vaccine-producing labs. The contracts include:
Four lyophilisers (freeze driers) to be built by India PVT and delivered to laboratories in Cameroon, DRC, Ghana and Senegal. This equipment, valued at €464,702 (US $651,000), will support production and development of PPR, CCPP, CBPP and Newcastle disease vaccines.
A €355,519 (US $498,000) contract awarded to Priddy International UK (trading as Wellspring Development Capital Ltd based in Malawi) to deliver basic business and management training to eight selected national laboratories in Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Senegal. The purpose of the training is to strengthen management skills in attaining a more commercial focus to vaccine production. Face-to-face training is supplemented with Open University business management programmes for key management staff.
Contracts have been awarded to Neri SpA in Italy and Dara Pharmaceutical Packaging in Spain totalling €454,725 (US $637,000) for vial filling and labelling machines that can produce 3,000 vials per hour. These will be supplied to laboratories in Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya and Senegal.
Local contractors have been selected to support refurbishment upgrades of laboratories in Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal totalling over €550,000 (US $ 777,000). This includes new generators, laboratory extensions, improved water supplies, electrical upgrades, lift repairs, improved access and air conditioning.
Overall, GALVmed will manage over €4 million (US $5.6million) in support of the equipment, training and refurbishment activities mentioned above, with an additional €2 million (US $2.8 million) for the improvement of distribution systems, market surveys and quality assurance.
News from the VACNADA Steering Committee
The third VACNADA Steering Committee meeting was held on 1 March 2011 in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. We are grateful to AU-IBAR for giving GALVmed Newsletter an update on what happened at the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the progress of the project and provide guidance on the way forward. GALVmed is providing equipment and a range of technical and marketing support to the target vaccine producing laboratories; other elements of VACNADA being undertaken by other partners include vaccination programmes and evaluation trials of CBPP vaccines.
During the meeting Katariina Bastos from the European Union in Brussels praised the good collaboration between the technical partners of VACNADA, namely AU-PANVAC, CIRAD and GALVmed.
The Result Oriented Monitoring (ROM) mission carried out in 2010 gave VACNADA a good scoring grade, reflecting the progress made on the project. This made the steering committee hopeful that a follow up project on the basis of success stories and lessons learned from the VACNADA project might be well received by the funder.
The members of the steering committee who were present during the meeting included: Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel AU Commission; Katariina Bastos EU Delagation Brussels; Stephen Wathome EU Delegation to Kenya; Dr Walter Masiga OIE; Dr Ahmed Elsawalhy AU-IBAR; Dr Baptiste Dungu GALVmed; M. F. Thiaucourt CIRAD-BIOS-UMR15 Secretariate; Karim Tounkara AU-PANVAC; Brian Nsofu COMESA; Cyprien Biaou ECCAS; Cyrille Dademanao Pissang VSF Belgium; Hon. Ali Wario Pastoral Policy Initiative; Dr Berhe Gebreegziabher DVS Ethiopia; Dr Batawui Komla Batasse DVS Togo; Dr Nicholas Kauta DVS Uganda; and Dr Moto Peter Crispin Mangani DVS Zambia.