African governments must focus on building strong health system – Health Minister

 The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman- Manu, has underscored the urgent need for African governments to focus on strengthening capacities on the continent for vaccines and other medical products as part of build­ing strong health systems after COVID-19.

This, he said, could be done through an efficient approach to synchronising the continent’s efforts at harmonising regulato­ry processes and leverage on it and other initiatives to enhance collaboration among regional communities.

The minister made the call at the closing of the third Afri­can Medicines Harmonisation (AMRH) week held in Accra.

The event focused on discus­sions with stakeholders on the co-ordination and collaboration needs in the medicines regulatory space across the African conti­nent

It brought together high-lev­el African leaders, as well as partners in the African medicine space to also reflect on progress and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

It was held on the theme “African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation, a foundation for the African Medicines Agency.”

According to Mr Agyeman- Manu, the experience gained from implementing the AMRH initiative must not go waste but serve as a catalyst to enhance ac­tivities of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) which he said would soon become operational.

He said: “This and other ini­tiatives coupled with experiences gained during the response to COVID-19 will go a long way in ensuring a successful AMA.”

Additionally, he explained that learning from other international regulators should be prioritised to ensure that innovation and agility were at the core of AMA’s delivery.

The mandate, if properly executed, he said would ultimately assist all member states to achieve their targets for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The Minister, who is also the chairperson of the AMA, reiterat­ed his commitment to collaborat­ing with the AMA Conference of State Parties, the African Union Commission (AUC), the Africa Union Development Agen­cy-New Partnership for Africa Development (AUDA-NEPAD), World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners who had been pivotal in the tremen­dous progress made to strengthen the continent’s health systems to ensure a stronger health system.

Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Madam Delese Mimi Darko, in her remarks indicated that the AMRH was an important platform established as a result of the pharmaceutical manufacturing plan for Africa to address “weak, outdated and fragmented regula­tory systems on the continent.”

Explaining, she said the core mission of the AMRH was to facilitate and co-ordinate the harmonisation of medicines reg­ulation with the desired outcome of increasing access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medicines across Africa.

She revealed that the FDA, Ghana, had acquired various ac­creditation which had placed it in the unique position of possessing the largest testing capacity “under one roof in Africa.”

As a regional centre for reg­ulatory excellence, she said her outfit had since 2017 strength­ened the capacity of more than 151 African Regulators including 12 countries in medicine authori­sation and registration, seven countries in pharmacovigilance and 11 countries in clinical trial oversight, across the continent.

Madam Darko expressed the hope that the capacity would be extended across the region in fu­ture, so that Africa’s response to pandemics and endemics diseases would be more robust.


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