Local drug manufacturing in Africa: lessons learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic


Nelson Mandela University, University Way, South Africa


Economic, social and political stresses have been witnessed all over the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, drug shortages and inaccessibility is one of the many results of disruption of supply chains due to shutdown of manufacturing activity in China, as well as export restrictions and bans by other countries. Herein, a brief synopsis of the knock-on effect and pre- and post COVID-19 roadmaps and measures undertaken towards achieving local drug manufacture in Africa is provided.

At the end of 2019, the world experienced the Coronavirus pandemic that was declared a global public health emergency of concern by the World Health Organisation on 30 January 2020 (1). Since then, more than 87 million confirmed cases and 1.9 million deaths by early January 2021 have been recorded globally and in reality, the numbers are even higher (2).


An emergency, as defined by the World Health Organisation (3), is a state in which normal procedures are suspended and extraordinary measures are taken in order to avert a disaster. According to the International Epidemiology Associations Dictionary of Epidemiology, a pandemic is defined as an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people (4).


In a bid to control the spread of the virus, some of the tools have been reported to have a negative impact on economies, especially in low developing countries (5). In the past two years for example, manufacturing industry supply chains were significantly affected because of the lockdown measures, such as travel restr ...