Dr. Janet Byaruhanga, Head of Health Unit, Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA) say Africa needs a viable pharmaceutical industry to expand its capacity to respond to the health needs of its people.
She said this would also strengthen health systems and contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the continent.
Dr Byaruhanga said this in Accra at a meeting held by the AUDA to discuss ways that African countries can coordinate the many initiatives around the continent that aims to strengthen Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own medicines.
The meeting was attended by pharmaceutical experts from the AU member states, regional economic communities, the private sector, academia, and civil society organizations from across Africa.
The two-day meeting discussed the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA); an instrument that seeks to galvanize all initiatives that support the local manufacture of medical products made on the continent.
It also developed and adopted a collection of good policies and practices that would enable the pharmaceutical sector in Africa to grow in the production of vaccines, the usage of technologies, medical supplies, and other consumables.
Dr Byaruhanga said the PMPA envisioned a competitive, self-reliant, sustainable, and integrated pharma industry that would ensure access to a stable and reliable supply of safe, efficacious, quality-assured medical products in Africa.
The plan further seeks to address issues of coherence across relevant policies, human resources and skills, access to technology transfer, access to capital, regulatory systems, strategic partnerships, and collaboration, as well as market data collection systems and market access in Africa.
“We all understand that Africa’s manufacturing capability cannot grow without the necessary policies on health, trading and financing, economic planning, and science technology and innovation that will enable the pharmaceutical sector thrive,” Dr Byaruhanga said.
She said the African Union Heads of States and Government in 2005 decided and agreed to strengthen Africa’s capacity to develop its own medicines, particularly those that were responding to HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“Presently the AU seeks to build a competitive local manufacturing space that will able to produce the volumes and the quality of vaccines and medicines that can compete with medicines from other entities beyond the African continent,” she said.
Dr Byaruhanga said the African Union Development Agency would partner with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) to see the best ways to boost trade for pharmaceutical products made in Africa.