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Maiyegun Backs Establishment of African Medicines Agency

By Dipo Olowookere

The need for African countries to work together for the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) has been emphasised by the African Union Commission (AUC) Director for Social Affairs, Mr Olawale Maiyegun.

He also said representatives of AU member states and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) must review the legal and institutional frameworks and business plan to make this a reality.

According to him, this process comes at the right time as it fits into the bigger context of the Continental Free Trade (CFT) and aligns with the AU vision for continental integration, free trade zones and free movement of African people.

“At the end of this meeting, we should have cleaned-up versions of these key AMA documents that will be ready for consideration by the Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control in March 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” Mr Maiyegun emphasised.

Mr Maiyegun, who was speaking at the official opening of the first AMA consultative meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, which took place from February 20 – 22, 2017, said this would go a long way to boost the continent’s economy.

The meeting was attended by legal personnel and medicines regulators from AU member states, representatives from the RECs, AMA Task Team members and joint Secretariat of AMA Task Team comprised of the NEPAD Agency, World Health Organisation (WHO) and AUC.

During the meeting, NEPAD Agency Head of Health Programmes, Mrs Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda said that Africa needs strong institutions that can address the challenges of access to quality, safe and efficacious medical products.  She pointed out that the establishment of the AMA is a very important step in this direction.

“AMA will also contribute to establishing an enabling environment for the development of the pharmaceutical industry and lead to better coordination of different partners and stakeholders undertaking medicines regulatory strengthening and harmonisation efforts on the continent,” Mrs Sigonda explained.

WHO Head of Liaison Office to the AU and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Dr Innocent Ntaganira reminded participants that WHO has been involved in this process from the beginning and contributed to efforts that led to where we are now.

The first ever African Health Ministers’ meeting that was jointly convened by WHO and the AUC in Luanda in April 2014 had adopted the milestones towards establishment of the AMA.

“This is an important meeting to WHO because it will add value to the efforts towards strengthening medicines regulation and harmonisation, which is one of the key pillars of health systems,” Dr Ntaganira said.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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