Africa medicines body on the cards

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Five countries have so far signed the African Medicines Agency (AMA) Treaty following its approval by African Member States in February this year. The treaty, which is expected to harmonise regulation of medicines is supposed to be signed by 15 countries before its implementation.

Zimbabwe, which already has a functional medicines regulatory authority is leading the process of establishing the continental body and other countries that have so far signed are Algeria, Rwanda, Saharawi and Madagascar.

Addressing delegates attending the 4th biennial scientific conference on medical products regulation in Africa (SCoMRA) underway in Victoria Falls, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) head of health programmes Mrs Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda said the continent was making great progress towards setting up of AMA.

“We are now in the process of getting signatures from member countries. Out of 15 signatures that are needed, we currently have five. We are making good progress,” said Mrs Ndomondo-Sigonda.

Mrs Ndomondo-Sigonda said regional integration and harmonisation was the way to go as it has proved to assist countries in growing local capacities.

Speaking at the same occasion, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said Zimbabwe should be considered as the possible host of the AMA secretariat because of its experience gained in medicines regulation.

He said through the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), Zimbabwe was recently selected by SADC as the implementing agency for medicines registration harmonisation project.

“I therefore have no doubt that even as the chorus to have the African Medicines Agency launched growing louder, Zimbabwe shall be one of the countries bidding to be host to the secretariat because of the experience gained in the SADC region,” said Dr Moyo.

AMA, once ratified by member states will serve as the continental regulatory body that will provide regulatory leadership, to ensure that there are harmonised and strengthened regulatory systems, which govern the regulation of medicines and medical products on the African continent.

The agency will also regulate the access to safe, effective, good quality and affordable essential medicines and health technologies.

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