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Kigali: African Medicines Regulatory harmonization week has kicked off. They are discussing on a formation of African Medicine Agency.

Author Jerome MUNYENTWALI Views

Today on December 10th, 2018, The Ministry of Health of Rwanda held one week duration meeting. This meeting brought together African Union Commissions, Pan African Parliament, NEPAD, UN agencies, policy makers, development partners and EAC Secretariat. It has been a good opportunity to launch ‘African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization week’ and the participants are discussing on the formation of African Medicine Agency as they have already noticed that Africans are consuming sub-standards drugs from out of Africa.

African Medicines Agency (AMA), is a hot point that is being discussed in this one week meeting. This comes to the discussion table as Africa countries found that at present, drug approval processes on the continent operate separately, and each country prioritizes its own process.

The genius in Medicine have revealed that this results in delays for approvals of medical products and consequently delayed access to medicines.

Mrs.Margareth N. Singonda works with New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD Agency) as Executive Secretary officer, she said “We went through the regional economic communities and brought the countries together to help each other, build capacity because the challenge is that most of them don’t have capacity to make sure that the medicines that people are using meet the standard of quality and safety. So we bring them togather through the regional platform to harmonize their standards and it will be easier to Africans to get quality medicine to the market”

Professor Okojie Christiana, the chair of the committee of African Medicines Regulatory harmonization, told the Media that the African Medicine Agency (AMA) will bring in much solutions on African continent people’s lives, she said “whatii i promise is that when we come up finding AMA, we will have quality medicines for our people in Africa, and we Africans, we have the capacity to do that”

Professor Okojie Christiana during the Meeting

The Minister of Health of Rwanda Dr. Diane Gashumba, said that Rwanda and Africa in general is sleepless until the illicit drugs problem on the continent is completely uprooted. She said ”when patients consume substandard drugs they are not cured, but those drugs increase the illness and can even kill them. Africa is going to be strong as we form one Agency that will be examining the quality of medicines. Here in Rwanda we catch some fake medicines and destroy them, so we hope with AMA those substandard drugs will no longer enter in Africa and no longer be consumed by Africans”

Dr. Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health

The Deputy Executive secretary of East African Community Hon. Christophe BAZIVAMO said that they have not yet conducted a statistical research as Africa, that can show numbers of Africans killed by fake Medicines, but he stressed that over 70% of drugs in use on African Continent come from other continents rather than in Africa, only 2% is manufactured in Africa and about 25-35% of medical products on the continents are substandard and falsified.

Taking example of HIV/AIDS, Frof. Christiana said that about 36 Million Africans were killed before having access to medicines, and this pushes Africa to have Drug Security which will be guaranteed by African Medicines Agency (AMA)
Both the ministers of health and Ministers of Justice from Africa Countries have already signed on the AMA establishment papers, and the discussions in this meeting are about how AMA will be operating, the source of functional budgets and rules regulating it before the next step of being approved in the African heads of state meeting expected.

The establishment of AMA will not only benefit the pharmaceutical industry, it will contribute to strengthening public health delivery systems and will ensure African have sustained access to life-saving and life-prolonging medicines.

African Medicines Regulatory harmonization meeting held in Kigali

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