Scientists and members of the academia have made a strong push for the passage of the research and innovation fund to stop the dependence on other countries for medical and scientific solutions.

The bill which has been in parliament for over five years, according to these scientists may spell doom for the nation in the area of scientific research and innovation.

They cite Ghana’s dependence on the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries for Covid-19 vaccines as a wakeup call for the nation to start turning its attention to its rich expertise to start preparing towards the next pandemic as well as funding research into existing ailments and epidemics.

According to the Director of West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Prof. Gordon Awandare, government’s investment will go a long way in helping the country build a well-equipped infrastructure for research centre’s.

This he says will help researchers develop suitable vaccines for their own countrymen.

“To make vaccines you need a huge investment affront. Now, most of the research we do, we apply for funds from other countries and donor agencies and we do our research. And those funds are for specific research purposes.

“In order to build a critical mass of capacity in terms of infrastructure that you need to make your own vaccines that have to come from government investment,” he stated.

He further called on countries belonging to the African Union to come together and support a number of local institutions to build the required capacity to do conduct research.   

He made this submission at a virtual round table discussion on “vaccines and control of infectious diseases, facts and fears” on Wednesday.

Also taking his turn, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ernest Aryeetey intimated that without the help from government to support local researchers, the country will not be able to boast of its own vaccines.

He says “there is a lot of effort currently taking place, what we need to do is to encourage our government to support our research.”

He questioned how African government can join the discourse and assist scientists.

“Everybody talks about the need to have an African vaccine, yes we support it and we strongly believe in that but you cannot do it without African government,” he emphasized.

The Secretary-General of African Research Universities Association (ARUA) is of the view that “the only way we can assure that within the next four-five years, there will be African developed vaccines for use in Africa” is when the government steps in.