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GHANA, RWANDA, SENEGAL PARTNER BIONTECH TO PRODUCE COVID-19, TB AND MALARIA VACCINES IN AFRICA

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Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal are partnering with German biotechnology company, BioNTech SE, to fill, finish, and package BioNTech mRNA vaccines in Africa, as a first step in the chain of domestic vaccine production which will to improve vaccine supply in Africa.

This was announced at a high-level meeting in Marburg, Germany, on Wednesday, 16th February 2022, where President Akufo-Addo, together with Presidents Macky Sall and Paul Kagame of the Republics of Senegal and Rwanda respectively, witnessed the presentation of a BioNtech modular production facility solution for the production of mRNA vaccines in Africa.

The event was also attended President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization.

Together with BioNTech’s CEO and Co-Founders Prof. Ugur Sahin and CMO, Prof. Özlem Türeci, and COO Dr. Sierk Poetting, they jointly discussed the infrastructural, regulatory and technological requirements to establish an end-to-end manufacturing network for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa.

BioNTech SE has introduced this approach to establish scalable vaccine production by delivering turnkey mRNA manufacturing facilities based on a container solution. At a high-level meeting at BioNTech’s manufacturing facility in Marburg, and at the invitation of kENUP Foundation, the company presented the container solution named “BioNTainer” to key partners of its efforts in Africa.

Describing the modular production facility as a “BioNTainer”, it will consist of one drug substance and one drug product module, each built of six ISO sized containers. They are clean rooms which BioNTech equips with state-of-the-art semi-automated manufacturing solutions.

Each module requires 800 sqm of space and offers an estimated capacity of several hundred of million doses of mRNA-based vaccines depending on the specific vaccine.

The BioNTainer will be equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based approved or authorized vaccines targeted to the needs of people in African Union member states, like BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, and its malaria and tuberculosis vaccines, if they are successfully developed and approved.

The first BioNTainer is expected to be shipped to the African Union in mid-2022. BioNTech expects to ship BioNTainers to Rwanda and Senegal in close alignment with the respective country and the African Union. BioNTech will be responsible for the delivery and set-up of the modules, while local authorities and governments will ensure the needed infrastructure.

Ghana will support the manufacturing with fill-and-finish capacities. In cooperation with WHO, Africa CDC/AMA, and the European Union, BioNTech is supporting, identifying and setting up the necessary regulatory framework.

BioNTech will initially staff, own and operate the facilities to support the safe and rapid initiation of the production of mRNA-based vaccine doses. In the longer term the company plans to transfer manufacturing capacities and the know-how to local partners to enable sustainable production of mRNA vaccines in Africa. Vaccines manufactured in these facilities are expected to be dedicated to domestic use and export to other member states of the African Union at a not-for-profit price.

Pan-African Project
Speaking at the event, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the meeting heralds an important step in end-to-end vaccine manufacturing in Africa.

“This pan-African project fits very well into Ghana’s roadmap for vaccine development and manufacturing, developed by the Vaccine Manufacturing Committee, which I constituted nearly a year ago,” he said.

The President added, “We are willing to work together with our counterparts in Rwanda and Senegal to fill, finish, and package BioNTech mRNA vaccines, as a first step in the chain of domestic vaccine production.”

He told the gathering that Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the principal Ghanaian regulatory agency, which is currently at WHO Maturity Level 3, and being upgraded to Maturity Level 4, will be readily available to work closely with regulatory bodies from the two (2) partner countries, to enhance the regulatory capacities for domestic vaccine development and manufacturing in Africa.

Moreover, with Ghana’s growing pharmaceutical industry, which already has broad footprints in West Africa, President Akufo-Addo added that, backed by the nation’s industrious research institutions, strong political will and commitment, fueled by lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, he is of the utmost belief that Ghana is prepared for this project.

“We have gleaned a lot from this pandemic, and we are determined to enhance our ability to handle more efficiently any future outbreaks, including building domestic capacity for vaccine production. We are ready to contribute and to be part of the manufacturing of mRNA COVID-19, Malaria and TB vaccines from drug substance through drug product to Fill, Finish and Package. Ghana is raring to go,” he added.

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National: 2023 Budget: TUC to reject government’s salary projection of ₵44.9m

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Deputy-General-Secretary-of-the-Trades-Union-Congress-TUC-Joshua-Ansah

After several attempts to reach an agreement with government over an increment in their base pay, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is expected to meet government on Wednesday to finalise a deal.

But before that meeting gets underway, the Trades Union Congress is warning that it will not accept government’s projections in the 2023 Budget.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, reading the 2023 Budget in Parliament projected compensation of employees at GH¢44,990 million (5.6% of GDP).

Earlier, government also proposed a 12% salary increment during the last negotiation with Organised Labour but it was turned down.

 

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express on Tuesday, Deputy General Secretary of TUC, Joshua Ansah stated that they would not agree to the projected figure.

According to Mr Ansah, government must expect a fight if they turn up at the meeting with the same proposal.

JoyNews/AdomNews · TUC to reject government’s salary projection in 2023 Budget
“There is no way Organised Labour is also going to accept what has been put in the budget. Well, if the government has made up its mind that it is the way it thinks that he can actually force down the throat of workers, then we are in for a big fight, because there is no way government can pay anything below what we are expecting,” he said.

He noted that Organised Labour will not compromise on their demand for 60% increment in their base pay.

Meanwhile, the President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Justice Yankson says government has created a problem by not reaching an agreement with the labour unions earlier.

JoyNews/AdomNews · Dr Yankson on organised labour and government’s negotiations
He believes the current mess could have been prevented.

“These are some of the problems that sometimes we create for ourselves. We had a whole period in which we could have sorted these things, we waited to the last end. Now we can see that we are on a collition course, it is clear,” he said.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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Politics: Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory

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A Wenchi High Court has thrown out a petition against New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislator in the Techiman South 2020 election.

The petitioner was seeking the nullification of the poll which saw the NPP candidate, Martin Agyei Mensah Korsah, emerge victorious.

But at the hearing Wednesday, the court explained that the NDC 2020 Parliamentary candidate, Christopher Bayere, who was pursuing the matter, failed to prove the burden of petitioning.

The court was attended by some leaders of the NDC including General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.

Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory
He was sighted leaving the court premises a few minutes before the judgement.

The NDC Parliamentary candidate had contested the EC’s verdict which gave the NPP’s candidate victory with 49,682 votes representing 50.2 percent of the total valid votes cast, whilst the NDC’s candidate had 49,205 votes representing 49.8 percent of the total valid votes cast.

The NDC Parliamentary candidate insisted that the figures were not a true reflection of the election.

According to him, per the pink sheets of the NDC agents at each of the 267 polling stations, he garnered 50,306 votes in the Parliamentary election whilst the 1st Respondent polled 50,013 votes.

Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory
Electoral Commission fined in 2021

In August 2021, the Electoral Commission of Ghana was fined GH¢4,000 by the court after the Court refused to grant the EC’s request for a stay of proceedings in the dispute on July 30, 2021.

Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory
The EC’s application for a stay of proceedings was to enable it to file a motion to challenge the ruling of the Court at its previous sitting, when it granted the petitioner a motion to amend the title of the writ.

TCounsel for the EC, Emmanuel Addae said the stay of proceedings was to enable him to file supplementary statements in support of the application filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Christopher Beyere Baasongti.

However, reacting to the EC’s stay of proceedings, the Counsel for the petitioner, Justin Teriwajah argued that the motion was frivolous and unnecessarily geared towards delaying the adjudication of the case.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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Football: Asamoah Gyan’s run, Bagbin’s dance and Black Stars fans’ clean-up as fans celebrate S. Korea win in style

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It was the much-needed win for Ghanaians who were largely sitting on tenterhooks for the final quarter of the game.

And from the reactions, after the South Koreans netted a quickfire double between the 58th and 61st minutes, something had to definitely happen.

Kudus rose to the occasion, found himself at the end of a Gideon Mensah cross and curled the ball past the goalkeeper to restore Ghana’s lead and eventually sealed the game for Black Stars.

Asamoah Gyan’s run, Bagbin’s dance and Black Stars fans’ clean-up as fans celebrate S. Korea win in style
The 68th-minute winner triggered a thunderous celebration across the country and on social media.

Despite late attempts from the Koreans, the game ended 3-2 with Ghana earning a vital win in Group H.

Asamoah Gyan’s run, Bagbin’s dance and Black Stars fans’ clean-up as fans celebrate S. Korea win in style
Alban Bagbin

The jubilation started right from Ghana’s legislative arm where the Speaker, Alban Bagbin was caught on camera dancing to one of the goals on the day from his office.

The ecstatic Speaker punched the air while clad in his Black Star jersey in the company of other officials of the House.

Asamoah Gyan runs

Former Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan was on punditry duty at SuperSports TV.

However, the ethics of being on a live set could not suppress his excitement when the deciding goal was scored.

Filled with elation, the former skipper run out of the set in jubilation shouting atop his voice.

His iconic goal celebration was his response when asked about his reaction to some moments of the game.

Fans in clean-up mode

Now, supporters of Japan’s national team have been earning praise in Qatar for their zeal toward cleanliness after each game.

This win seems to have presented Ghanaian fans with the opportunity to emulate this off-pitch tradition.

While many celebrated the win at full-time, other fans were seen moving boxes around to collect the waste left by their colleagues.

South Korea’s Son not in selfie mood

Another interesting sight came from an official from the Ghana dressing room posing for a selfie.

The subject Son Heung-min was almost in tears after his team lost at full-time.

Otto Addo’s side will now face Uruguay in their last game looking to secure qualification to the next stage of the competition.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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