African countries urged to ratify continental medicine treaty

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-05 00:56:31|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- African experts and policymakers have urged continental efforts towards the ratification of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) Treaty so as to ensure the harmonization of medical products in Africa.

They made the urgent call during a meeting of African ministerial meeting, which was held over the weekend as part of the African Union (AU)'s Specialized Technical Committee Meeting on Health, Population and Drug Control.

Amira Elfadil, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, noted the AU's commitment to the swift ratification and implementation of the continental AMA treaty.

Elfadil also reaffirmed the AU's leadership role in terms of advocating an "increased domestic funding, partnerships for health care and alignment of donor policies with national priorities - in line with the Agenda 2063."

Elfadil, who applauded the four AU member countries that have already signed the AMA treaty documents, also stressed the continental treaty's potential in transforming Africa's pharmaceutical sector.

The continental treaty, which was so far signed by three AU member countries that are Algeria, Rwanda and Saharawi, also added Madagascar as its fourth signatory country on Friday.

The treaty is expected to enter into force once ratified by 15 AU member countries, the minimum threshold required for it to take effect towards strengthening the harmonization of medicines and medical products regulation in Africa.

The AU Commissioner also urged other African governments "to join in the ratification in support of the AU Commission for Social Affairs as it works towards the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa."

"As the AU's Commission for Social Affairs, we will continue to advocate and engage various stakeholders to promote the implementation of interventions and address the health challenges on the continent," Elfadil added.

According to Egypt's Minister of Health and Population, Hala Zaid, "human element is the health of each country, thus all AU member states should pull efforts for the achievement of Africa's aspiration to attain a disease-burden decline."

"Egypt is in the process of establishing continental centers, which will offer training on how to develop and effectively implement national immunization strategies," Zaid said.

"Given that some countries in Africa only have 26 percent of chance for vaccination, the centers will aim towards raising immunization coverage at least by 10 percent every year in the Region. The centers will be completed within the next two months," she added.

Alpha Wurie, Sierra Leone's Minister of Health, also emphasized the significance of investments in medicines as the world is expected to experience population growth of 2.2 billion in the next two years, 50 percent of which will be in Africa.

The AMA treaty was adopted by African leaders during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU that was held at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa in February this year.