A Drive towards Financial Sustainability of the African Medicines Quality Forum

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Marrakesh, Morocco – 1 March, 2019- Regulatory leaders, policymakers, executives and experts from more than 40 countries within and beyond Africa met at the 2nd annual African Medicines Quality Forum (AMQF) meeting in Marrakesh, held February 26 to March 1st 2019.

The AMQF meeting was organised by United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Moroccan government. AMQF was established in 2017 in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD, to build and strengthen the capacity of African countries in medicines quality control and regional post market surveillance, and in turn, to contribute significantly to reducing sub-standard and falsified medical products in circulation on the African markets. AMQF is a forum open to heads of National Quality Control Laboratories (NQCLs) from all African Union Member States.

The theme for the 2019 annual AMQF was, “A Drive towards Financial Sustainability of AMQF” and under this theme, discussions were held on short-term and long-term financial sustainability of AMQF under the AUDA-NEPAD African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (AMRH) initiative.

Professor Jamal Taoufik, Head of the Moroccan Regulatory Authority, officially opened the meeting on behalf of the Ministry of Health. He commended the members of AMQF for meeting to discuss the future of AMQF and highlighted that the discussions that were underway this week, affect the future health of all Africans. Pr. Taoufik added that the Moroccan government, will continue to assist in ensuring the sustainability of AMQF.

 “National Quality Control Laboratories play an important role in ensuring that medicines in Africa are made to the right quality and  the role of AMQF is critical to tackling the challenges of Substandard and Falsified medical products in Africa” said Mrs. Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda, Head of Health Programmes at AUDA-NEPAD.  She said that maintain these efforts would also serve as building blocks to the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) whose treaty was adopted by the AU Heads of State and Government during their 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly on 11 February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr. Abdelkrim Smine, Director of Global Public Health – Africa at USP, said that “access to quality medicines is key to regulatory systems strengthening in Africa, but without a concrete plan for financial sustainability, this cannot be achieved”. He also urged members of the AMQF and other key stakeholders and partners to “come up with different and creative ideas this week” on what the future sustainability of AMQF should be.

Also speaking at the event, Mr. Rutendo Kuwana, Technical Officer representing WHO headquarters, affirmed their continued support of the AMQF initiative. He added that NQCLs are an integral part of the regulatory system and WHO will assign specific resources to ensure that the work of AMQF is sustained.  

One the last day of the meeting, AMQF members presented their recommendations for the sustainability of AMQF to His Excellency, Dr Anass Doukkali; Minister of Health in Morocco.  He expressed that it was a great honour for the Moroccan government to have hosted such an important meeting this week.  Minister Doukkali also emphasised the importance of AU members advocating towards the ratification of AMA in their respective countries, as this will ensure continued strengthening of African regulatory systems.