While COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in record time and disseminated to billions of people around the globe, the rates of vaccination for African countries lag badly behind other regions. This underscores the urgent need to strengthen domestic health manufacturing capacity for the continent.
Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, former Prime Minister of Niger and co-chair of FACTI-PANEL, and Cheikh Oumar Seydi, Africa Director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, argue in their article that Africa needs a strong regulatory framework that encourages the expansion of domestic medical product development to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of these products, while also improving the accessibility of them for patients. Data have shown that a shockingly high percentage of harmful or fake medicines appearing globally originate in Africa, and registration of new health technologies can take years longer for approval compared to other markets. The recent establishment of the African Medicines Agency as continent-wide regulator is an important step to address these challenges, but much work still needs to be done at the country and industrial level.
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Article originally published in The Africa Report