Speaking at the Opening Ceremony on 03 August, the IGAD Executive Secretary, H. E. Amb (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, underscored the importance of the Conference given the magnitude of the problem facing the region in terms of the heavy “ … burden of Sub-standard, Falsely Labeled, Falsified and Counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products”. He also reflected on the remarkable achievements each country has been making over the years and lauded member states for registering significant progress in the health sector. However, emphasized the need for regional and collective approach. “But this will not be sustainable if we forget to work and do things as region”, he said.
The Executive Secretary told the Ministers attending the Conference that it came at the right time “as we are engaged in implementing your Declaration of the First IGAD International Scientific Conference on Health” held in December 2014. He also added that the event is happening a few weeks after the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD) followed by the High-Level Ministerial Conference on Financing Human Resources for Health both took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2015.
H.E. Amb Maalim stressed the need to “urgently work on a regulatory framework” to coordinate and harmonize regional efforts in tackling the problems of illegal flow of drugs and their devastating impact on the health people in the region. Finally, he assured the audience of his “personal support and follow-up on the implementation” of the outcomes of the Conference.
The Conference was officially declared open by H. E. Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic republic of Ethiopia. In his opening remarks H.E. Dr. Kesetebirhan welcomed the delegations and recognized the leading role IGAD in coordinating regional response to challenges in the health and social development sector. He stated that national and regional health interventions are geared towards responding to the needs of the pastoralist and cross-border mobile populations. Dr Kesetebirhan identified three major barriers such as insufficient supply of drugs, inadequate capacity, and poor quality of medicines.
However, the Minister believes that these and related challenges can be addressed through regional approaches under the leadership of IGAD. He concluded by stressing the need for ensuring self-sufficiency; access to information; forum for strengthening regulatory authorities, and building the requisite capacities at both national and regional levels a means of combating illegal flow of drugs.
IGAD was leading the Opening Session with Dr. Ahmed Hassan, the IGAD Health/IRAPP Coordinator, delivering the welcoming remarks and serving as the Master of Ceremony.
The Conference is expected to come up with recommendations on the establishment of a strong regional regulatory mechanism and a coherent plan for effective implementation of the recommendations to be adopted.
For further information please contact:
1. Dr Ahmed Hassan
IGAD, Health/IRAPP Coordinator
2. Dr. Fatuma Adan
3. Dr Kebede Kassa
4. Dr. Girum Hailu