The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners organized a 3-day Technical Review Group (TRP) assessment workshop for its pharmaceutical initiative anchored in the African Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda, from September 13-15, 2022. The objective of the workshop was to review proposals for expressions of interest submitted for the Local Pharmaceutical Production pillar of the Commodity Production Initiative. Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (SRMNCH) in Africa. The TRP, whose members are WHO-AFRO, UNIDO, UNICEF, AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, UNFPA, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and UNAIDS, was chaired by the WHO-AFRO.
The Chief of the Regional Integration Section of ECA, Mr. Francis Ikome, welcomed the members of the TRP and highlighted the historic events that led to the formation of the Pharmaceutical Initiative. Mr. Ikome presented the meeting with a review of global and regional frameworks based on the three pillars of the initiative, namely pooled procurement, localized production and harmonized regulatory quality standards for medicines. He highlighted that the ECA-led AfCFTA pharmaceutical initiative provides a continentally validated and anchored blueprint for scaling up sexual and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (SRMNCH) commodities in Africa. The Initiative also builds on the implementation of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In his opening remarks, Dr. Nyirimigabo Fatouma, representing the Director General of the Rwanda Food and Drug Authority, said that the Government of Rwanda strongly advocates bundled procurement with pilot countries and as a Host of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) Secretariat. . He explained “we look forward to engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that continental pharmaceutical production meets WHO standards.”
Mr. Moses Chisale, Chair of the TRP and Technical Advisor, World Health Organization-Africa Region (WHO-AFRO) said that the Pharmaceutical Initiative should be commended for the work it is doing, particularly with regard to the political dialogue commitments. He added that “the pharmaceutical initiative anchored in the AfCFTA represents lucrative opportunities for private sector investment and innovation that will change lives, reduce poverty and contribute to Africa’s inclusive and sustainable economic development.”
After lengthy but productive deliberations, the TRP selected five of the eleven companies for further evaluation under the guidelines of the pharmaceutical initiative. Selected companies will be further assessed to determine the technical and financial support they require from ECA and its collaborating partners to enable them to scale up production of quality-assured SRMNCH products in Africa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
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