The Director-General of the West African Health Organisation, WAHO, Prof Stanley Okolo, has called for partnership between the organization and the pharmaceutical manufacturers group to improve access to quality, safe and affordable medicines in the region.
He made the call in Lagos on Wednesday at the opening of the 2019 Pharma Expo organised by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
Okolo said ECOWAS and WAHO are supporting the development of pharmaceutical industry in all ECOWAS Member States with the sole aim to respond to the region’s need for a secure and reliable supply of quality, affordable, accessible, safe and proper medicines.
The DG, therefore, called for accelerated implementation process of the various groups in support of medicines regulation harmonisation and local pharmaceutical manufacturing.
“To all partners and delegates present let’s continue in this drive because I am convinced that with a strong collaboration we will improve accessibility of quality, safe and effective medicines in our region,” he said.
Prof Okolo, recalled that in recognition of the enormous challenges facing healthcare systems, including lack of access to essential medicines, and the reliance on others for solutions, Heads of State of Africa directed the African Union Commission to develop a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for the continent.
Consequently, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa was duly developed and adopted by the Conference of African Ministers of Health held in Johannesburg, in April 2007 and endorsed by the Heads of State and Government in Accra, in July 2007.
According to him, “The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa is premised on the inalienable principle that access to quality healthcare, including access to all essential medicines that are affordable, safe, efficacious, and of good quality, is a fundamental human right.”
Speaking, Mr Frank Muonemeh, the Executive Secretary of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said the association has been partnering for a very long time with WAHO to strengthen activities regarding local pharmaceutical manufacturing.
He recalled, “Sometime ago, the West Africa Health Organisation supported the industry, in the area of training member organizations in the area of what we call CTDS, which is us to ensure submission of dossiers that are used in registration of products. It has to do with we call pharmaceutical quality management systems.
“WAHO has always been supportive to ensure that local Pharma companies move up with speed in the area of quality.
“The WAHO DG being here for the events of Pharma Expo 2019 is just to make a statement once again, that they support this group to not just be able to provide essential medicines for the growing population in West Africa but also to help the organisation to become globally competitive.”