The World Bank (WB) in collaboration with some other international organisations will today launch the East African Community (EAC) medicine registration harmonisation (MRH) project in Arusha.
A press statement issued by the community yesterday said, the EAC’s MRH project will promote harmonisation of medicine registration in the region, considered to be a key contributor to public health.
The harmionisation, it is said, will lead to rapid access to quality, safe and effective medicines for priority diseases.
Other organizsations which are taking part in the project are African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (AMRH), World Health Organisation (WHO), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Department for International Development (DfID), and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
The statement said, essential medicines save lives and improve health when they are available, affordable, of assured quality and used rationally.
However, lack of access to essential medicines remains one of the most serious global public health problems.
Africa’s regions have similar health and technological challenges and relatively low levels of investment in health research, drug discovery and pharmaceutical development, compared to other continents, the statement said.
Countries in Africa are struggling to produce, procure and make safe and essential medicines available to their populations.
This is mainly because of limited budgets, lack of adequate infrastructure and human resources and a range of regulatory barriers including weak and/or absent medicines legislation and legal frameworks.
According to the New Economic Programme for African Development (Nepad) Agency CEO Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, “The regulation of medicines and harmonisation of technical standards and legislative frameworks have emerged as important components of the regional economic integration efforts”.
The launch of the EAC’s MRH project marks the beginning of the implementation phase of the AMRH Programme across the continent.
After a series of rigorous consultations with RECS, NMRAs and industry, AMRH partners have successfully finalised and secured funding for the EAC MRH Project.
In addition, the statement said, proposals for Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Economic Community for West African States (Ecowas) regions are at an advanced stage for donor consideration.