The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and partners have selected five companies for further evaluation to support the production of medicines and medical products.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Communications Section, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)-anchored Pharmaceutical Initiative on Friday.
UNECA and its partners held a three-day Technical Review Panel (TRP) Evaluation Workshop for its AfCFTA-anchored Pharmaceutical Initiative in Kigali, Rwanda from Sept. 13 to 15.
The companies were selected for further evaluation under the Pharma Initiative Guidelines.
The workshop’s objective, however, was to review the Expression of Interest proposals submitted for the Local Pharmaceutical Production Pillar of the Initiative.
The initiative is to produce Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child Healthcare (SRMNCH) products in Africa.
The TRP was also chaired by the World Health Organisation-Africa Region (WHO-AFRO).
The ECA Chief of Regional Integration Section, Mr Francis Ikome welcomed members of the TRP and highlighted the historic events which led to the formation of the Pharma Initiative.
Ikome took the meeting through a review of the global and regional frameworks based on the initiative’s three pillars.
The pillars are: Pooled-Procurement, localised production, and harmonised regulatory quality standards of medicines.
He emphasised that the ECA-led AfCFTA Pharma Initiative provided a validated and continentally anchored blueprint for scaling up SRMNCH products in Africa.
The initiative is also leveraging on the implementation of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and the AfCFTA.
In his opening remarks, Dr Emile Bienvenu, the Director-General of the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said the Rwandan government strongly advocated pooled procurement along with the pilot countries.
The director-general added that AMA Secretariat was the host.
Bienvenu was represented by Dr Nyirimigabo Fatouma.
He said, “we are looking forward to engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that continental pharmaceutical production complies with WHO standards.”
Mr Moses Chisale, Chair of the TRP and Technical Advisor, WHO-AFRO said the Pharma Initiative should be commended for the work it was doing, especially regarding policy dialogue engagements.
“The AfCFTA-anchored Pharma Initiative represented lucrative private sector investment and innovation opportunities that will change lives, reduce poverty and contribute to Africa’s inclusive and sustainable economic development,” Chisale said.
According to the statement, the TRP selected five out of the eleven companies for further evaluation under the Pharma Initiative Guidelines.
The selected companies would undergo further evaluation to ascertain the technical and financial support they need from the ECA and its collaborating partners.
This is to enable them to scale up production of quality assured SRMNCH products in Africa.
The members of the TRP are: United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund and the African Union Commission.
Others are African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development, United Nations Population Fund, United States Pharmacopoeia, and the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.