“VACNADA is about providing the resources and knowhow to take eight African vaccine laboratories to a new level. The next challenge is what additional support can be offered to keep them at the top of their game?”
The answer to the question, posed by Meritxell Donadeu, Director of Operations at GALVmed, was to extend the support package with help from the Zoetis Fellows programme to enable two specialist engineers to work with the labs over a six month period. So, Nancy Ng and Seamus Pender will be working as part of the GALVmed team until August 2011 to optimise production processes and ensure compliance with quality standards.
Nancy Ng said: “I’m supporting the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) in Ethiopia to make improvements to their maintenance programme and provide advice on installing and upkeep of new equipment purchased through the VACNADA programme. In addition, I am also collaborating with the Ethiopia based-Panafrican Veterinarian Vaccine Centre of the African Union (AU-PANVAC), overseeing the construction of a Process Development Lab and later installing the equipment and training the technicians.”
Nancy will also spend two months at KEVEVAPI in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nancy, from Andover, Massachusetts, will draw on her experience as a process engineer (including expertise in process development and validation engineering) gained in her work with the Specialty BioTechnology Operating Unit at Pfizer since 2006.
Seamus Pender, from Cork, Ireland, has been a process engineer and project manager at Pfizer since 2002. His work has already been referred to by Christian Ndamkou Ndamkou from LANAVET, Cameroon. Seamus will conduct this preventative maintenance work as part of his assignment in the Zoetis Health Fellow programme. This additional support has been successfully integrated with the VACNADA investment.
In addition Seamus will work with the Centre for Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases (CTTBD) in Malawi. Although not part of the VACNADA programme, the lab has had a similar capacity building support package from GALVmed to enable it to produce quality East Coast fever vaccine on a sustainable basis. Meritxell Donadeu said: “The work being done by CTTBD is strategically very important in relation to East Coast fever and so we wanted to ensure they had a similar package of support to the VACNADA labs. Seamus’ expertise will help to consolidate new ways of working at CTTBD.”
GALVmed is increasingly able to bring together funding and other resources to create more coherent packages of support for its partners through alliances. This form of facilitative leadership is an essential part of development and brings considerable added value – especially where there is an attempt to support new working practices. The GALVmed newsletter team will check in with Seamus and Nancy in July to learn more about their accomplishments.
What are Zoetis Health Fellows?
Zoetis Fellows programme is a skills-based volunteer programme in which Pfizer staff work on specialized assignments for three to six months with international development organizations designed to address global health issues and improve care for underserved populations. Assignments are focused on strengthening health systems around the world to promote access, quality and efficiency of health services. The programme is managed by the Zoetis Headquarters’ Corporate Responsibility team, based in New York.