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Advocates Want Patients Represented in African Medicines Agency

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Margaret Olele (left) Pfizer Corporate Affairs Director shares a light moment with Joshua Wamboga (center) UAPO Executive Director and Dr. Sarah Byakika (right) from Uganda Ministry of Health

Patients’ advocates from across Africa have convened today in Entebbe, Uganda to discuss issues relating to patient involvement in the upcoming plans for the African Medicines Agency (AMA).

During their two day conference, patient advocates and a range of other stakeholders in the medical profession will be exploring ways of ensuring patients’ voices are reflected in the Agency, which is due to be launched in 2018 as part of the of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Initiative (AMRH).

The global umbrella organization, the International Alliance for Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) based in London, United Kingdom and the Uganda Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (UAPO), based in Uganda have embarked on the process of fostering patient involvement in the creation of AMA.

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This process is beginning at the meeting: “Harmonization for Patient-Centred Universal Health Coverage in Africa.”

The meeting, which is being held at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda on July 4-5, 2017, will bring together IAPO members, patient representatives and a range of stakeholders from over ten different countries across Africa.

Patients are well aware that no significant results can be achieved by patient advocates alone.

This has to be a multi-stakeholder approach that draws on strong relations with a range of actors.

This needs to include representatives such as the African Union, its member countries, policy-makers, the pharmaceutical industry and intergovernmental bodies, including the World Health Organization.

Only by coming together can we make tangible progress towards patient-centered universal health coverage.

Kawaldip Sehmi, the Chief Executive Officer, IAPO, said; “Through interactive capacity building and knowledge-sharing sessions, IAPO and UAPO members and stakeholders will develop the tools to ensure that the patient movement across the region is made up of strong patient advocates.”

“The goal will be to prepare patient advocates to take on the challenges and opportunities to arise from increasing regulatory harmonisation across Africa over the next few years,” Kawaldip added.

Delegates will further discuss what is needed for patient representatives to be strong partners in the development of the AMA and what they need from the founding stakeholders in return, to form strong and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Joshua Wamboga, Chair-Elect, IAPO and Executive Director, UAPO noted that “Today, Africa’s disease burden is finely balanced between infectious and non-communicable diseases, both of which require quality and safe medicines to address the pressing public health challenges faced by the region today and in the future.”

“We believe that patient groups and patient advocates have an important role to play in developing and implementing strategies to meet these challenges. We hope to explore how all stakeholders can better work together to make this a reality.”

In 2009 the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) Initiative was established to guarantee and accelerate regulatory harmonization in the African continent.

The founding actors include the WHO, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Pan African Parliament, the African Regional Economic Communities and Organizations (RECs) and the national medicines regulatory authorities (NMRAs).

 


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