“If it fulfills its minor limitations, I would put Eritrea’s National Animal and Plant Health Laboratory (NAPHL) among the top five labs in Africa” – Dr. Nick Nwankpa, Director
The Ministry of Agriculture is finalizing its preparations to start veterinary vaccine production during the period of 2020.
This was proved after a visit by The African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) experts and managing directors from 17-20 December, 2019.
The delegation was composed by Dr. Nick Nwankpa, Director of the AU-PANVAC and Dr. Bodjo Sane Charles, senior diagnostic reagent officer.
During its visit to the Ministry’s National Animal and Plant Health Laboratory (NAPHL), the delegation assessed all sections of the lab though its main focus was on vaccine production and vaccine quality control.
“If it fulfills its minor limitations, I would put NAPHL among the top five labs in Africa!” said Dr. Nick Nwankpa after visiting the Laboratory and assessed that NAPHL is well equipped with modern technology.
Members of the delegation put diligence of the young NAPHL staff as the main asset and they commended the general laboratory staff for their extraordinary responsibility in the delivery of veterinary services, animal disease control and agricultural sector in general.
It is to be noted that, the NAPHL has been conducting many trials in the last few years, refining the production of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) and Newcastle (NC).
The prototype vaccines which were already produced by the NAPHL were taken by the delegation to their head office and laboratory which is based in Debre Zeit/ Bishoftu, Ethiopia for further quality and proficiency tests.
Reaching this stage boosted the eagerness and commitment of the lab staff of the vaccine production and vaccine quality control units in particular and the management team from various scientific disciplines of the NAPHL.
There were useful recommendations from the AU-PANVAC delegation in infrastructure, safety facilities and proper usage of some equipment. Generally, the overall state of the laboratory was found to be beyond their expectation.
During the visit, the AU-PANVAC delegation and the Ministry of Agriculture agreed to collaborate on providing master seeds for PPR and NC, cell lines, training, laboratory animals (such as guinea pigs and laboratory mice), diagnostic kits and reagents, and involving the Regulatory services in the harmonization of vaccine registration in Africa.
Finally the delegation confirmed that in the year 2020, Eritrea would be one of the few African countries producing vaccines after overcoming the minor challenges.
The Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre is an African Union Agency which was launched on March 12th, 2004 in DebreZeit (Ethiopia). The Center is a specialized technical office of the African Union Commission under the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.
AU-PANVAC is the only AU Organization mandated to provide international independent quality control of all veterinary vaccines either produced or imported into Africa; and the production of essential biological reagents for animal disease diagnosis and surveillance.