George Mhango

Addis Ababa, Dec. 03, 2015. The 2nd Biennial Scientific Conference on Medicines Regulation in Africa, which ended on Tuesday this week saw various delegates asking African governments to ensure that they regulate production of medicines and its policies to improve health service delivery, which is so crucial in treating dozens of WASH related diseases.

Nepad, African Union Commission and World Health Organisation organised the meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

AU Logo
AU Logo

The most critical issue delegates wanted agreed upon was the timely availability of high quality drugs from the manufacturer to the public who are said to be under great sufferage in terms of accessing medicines in many African countries.

The other issue was a resolution that in as far as regulation and harmonisation of operations of local pharmaceuticals is concerned there is need to guard against the proliferation of substandard products on the African markets.

Dr Aggrey Ambali who is head and advisor of Nepad Science, technology and innovation hub hinted that African governments need to come up with stiff regulation so that traditional healers too are held accountable for their claims.

“Regulatory bodies in each others in close collaboration with Nepad and World Health Organisation should lead in examining policies if any that govern activities of traditional healers, who claim to have found treatment for some diseases,” he said.

Following the proliferation of medicines on the market made by traditional healers, the World Health Organisation-WHO calls for timely identification so that well trained and passionate traditional healers are allowed to practice the business.

Ossy Casilo coordinator of medicines and the role of traditional healers at the World Health Organisation said there is need for joint efforts between governments Nepad, WHO and AU.

She said joint efforts would help develop national traditional medicines policies which are expected to give direction on how such doctors are to provide effective medicines to the public.

“Each country needs to identify qualified traditional healers who can practice medicine and ensure that they are evaluated for research activities by working with Aids-related institutions, researchers and intellectuals,” she said.

Present during the conference were officials from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They too were upbeat that while there have been different providers of medicines; the issue of high quality needs to be re-emphasised and remain a must.

The organisation expressed willingness to continue funding initiatives in the local pharmaceutical industry in a bid to ensure that medicines are found in each and every location.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation insists that it will promote the pharmaceuticals industry, which at the moment is one of the most regulated in the world after the aircraft industry.

According to Dan Dartman director of integrated development global health programme the public deserves high quality medicines as opposed to fake ones, which bring calamities.

Nepad, AUC and World Health Organisation—who organised the conference—have since indicated that the meeting has helped to attain outcomes meant to increase stakeholders’ awareness on the progress made in medical products regulatory systems.

During the conference, which was held under the theme “Regulatory systems strengthening for advancing Research, innovation and Local Pharmaceutical Production in Africa”, speakers were upbeat about making medicines produced in Africa or imported from other continents are available to the public.

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