New African medicines agency a timely venture – Business Daily

Healthcare often follows the pathway of complex adaptive systems. This means that the building blocks of a healthcare system can influence each other differently in different settings resulting into varied outcomes.
Therefore, a key focus of savvy policymakers is to endeavor to positively influence these components so as to cause an overall positive impact. One pursuit that highlights such progressive thinking is the recent creation of the African Medicines Agency (AMA).
The agency was launched in September 2021 and is tasked with enhancing regulatory oversight across the 55 countries of Africa and availing access to quality, safe, and efficacious medicines.
In my recent tête-à-tête with world-renown public health scholar Michel Sidibe who is currently the African Special Envoy for AMA under African Union and a former Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General – United Nations, he passionately described what AMA seeks to achieve.
Africa has salient deficits in ensuring good access to vital life-saving drugs, vaccines, and health technologies.
The continent’s 1.7 billion people make up 17% of the world’s population and bear a disproportionately high burden of disease: accounting for a quarter of the world’s disease burden, 60% of people living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 90% of the world’s annual malaria cases, but with only 6% of the world’s health care spending and less than 1% share of the world’s pharmaceutical market.
Further, it has the highest prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines resulting in poor healthcare quality.
Such longstanding challenges can be addressed by AMA’s mandate of monitoring and mitigating the risk of shortages of critical medicines and providing scientific advice on medicines.
Also, it will coordinate clinical trials, including vaccines development and by leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area, help build Africa’s research and development capacity to best practices and international standards.
Ultimately, an initial critical step for Kenya; so as to benefit from these opportune agenda, is to actively ratify and intentionally participate in discussions that continue to operationalize and shape up AMA.

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By Kwetu Buzz

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