• This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Africa must expand production of medical countermeasures

Africa must expand production of medical countermeasures

The Aurum Institute together with SAHTAC, the Coalition for Health Research and Development (CHReaD) and Pandemic Action Network (PAN) jointly hosted an official side event during the second International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) at the Kigali Convention Centre on 12-15 December with a special presentation by Aurum Managing Director: Implementation Research Division- Prof Geoffrey Setswe.

CPHIA provides a unique platform for African researchers, policymakers and stakeholders to come together and share perspectives and research findings in public health while ushering in a new era of strengthened scientific collaboration and innovation across the continent. The 2022 conference also serve as a catalyst to build more resilient health systems that allow African countries to better prepare for and manage emerging health threats while also addressing long-standing infectious diseases.

Medical countermeasures

The hybrid event was themed ‘Expanding local and regional production of medical countermeasures in Africa" with 17 participants joining online along with in person conference attendees from multiple sectors including civil society, patient groups, academia, and the private sector.

The dialogue was held in a panel discussion format comprised of two substantive sections each playing an important facet to informing participants on the impetus for building better and responsive healthcare systems that can act as effective buffers for any future health threats using lessons from the COVID – 19 pandemic in the continent.

The panelists together with participants from all over the globe, in person and virtually engaged to specifically tackle challenges and leverage innovative efforts to build and grow local and regional production capabilities to strengthen healthcare systems in the continent, explore innovative ways to adequately finance preparedness and responsiveness for future health threats, explore innovations around the need to strengthen technical capacities and efforts for local manufacturing in Africa for better healthcare systems, take stock of progress made in strengthening regulatory capacity in Africa and challenges in action and the need to unlock them. The discussions in each panel were informative and action oriented with a focus on calling all stakeholders to act.

Panelists

Aggrey Aluso, the African regional director of the Pandemic Action Network underscored the adverse impact Covid – 19 has had on the continent and worsened since the continent was not well prepared and heavily dependent on the global North.

Group CEO for AMREF Health Africa, Dr Githinji Gitahi emphasized sustainably to transform health systems in the continent. “Financing pandemic preparedness and response systems are not mutually exclusive. Hence, key focus should be put to building foundations for a holistic health system for it to responsive day to day and to respond when times of crisis,” he said.

On manufacturing capacities and current realities in Africa, Prof Geoffrey Setswe, Managing Director – Aurum Implementation Research Division recognized the dire situation that the continent is in whereby the continent accounts for 17% of world’s population and yet bears the biggest disease burden and contributes only 3% of global drug production with high reliance on donors to access vaccines. Although, few initiatives and efforts are already being implemented including the Africa CDC’s partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM), African Development Bank’s African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, and AUDA – NEPAD’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA).

“The challenges faced by the continent are far and wide with multisectoral implications including financing, access to technology and technical know-how, human resource capacity, weak regulatory systems, R&D. As such more needs to be done to enable local manufacturing including investing in building the technical capacity required to support the local manufacturing agenda, adopting an incremental approach towards manufacturing among others.”

Joining the session virtually was Dr Simon Agwale, CEO of Innovative Biotech Ltd who reflected on the need to increase efforts to build manufacturing capabilities in the continent to improve the region’s readiness for any future health threats.

The final panel speaker Dr Margreth Domondo, Head of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation Initiative- African Union Development Agency discussed taking stock around the progress made in strengthening regulatory capacity in Africa to expand local and reoginal production of medical countermeasures in the continent.

 


© 2024 The Aurum Institute. All Rights Reserved.