03-08-2017, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today convened a meeting to sensitize development partners on the need for the region to establish a regional Medicines Regulation & Harmonization (MRH) Programme. The Acting Director of Health & Social Development, Ms Fathia Alwan, co-chaired the inauguration session along with the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) of Italy to Ethiopia and Chair of the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF), Giuseppe Coppola, with Dr Apollo Muhairwe of the World Bank-Uganda, and the Coordinator of the World Health Organisation’s Regulatory Systems Strengthening-Geneva, Dr. Michael Ward, at the high table.

This one-day meeting between IGAD development partners and Heads of National Medicine Regulatory Authorities (NMRAs) from IGAD Member States follows the 3rd Meeting of the latter held on August 1st and 2nd and which was aimed at, among other items on the agenda, readying an MRH project proposal.

Thus, the goals of this Donor Sensitization Meeting were to:

  • Introduce the IGAD MRH initiative and results achieved so far;
  • Present the approved IGAD MRH project proposal – including the financial and technical support expected; and
  • Explore innovative ways and processes for resource mobilization.

Ms Fathia Alwan, in her opening remarks, linked the circulation of “Sub-standard and Falsified medical products and illegal trade in medicines in the region” to the movement of people. She also noted that “the presence of unregulated Sub-standard and Falsified medical products and illegal trade in medicines circulating within IGAD member states is a serious public health threat which must be prevented and controlled in order to spur confidence” before calling on the partners to support the initiative.

DCM Coppola informed the audience that the IGAD Partners Forum, that Italy was chairing, was made up of 27 states. He also acknowledged the other partners in attendance. “We welcome this initiative which is another key step to regional integration demonstrated by IGAD”, he said. He also added that IPF members will be duly informed an sensitized, while ways of mobilizing support will be considered.

Dr Apollo Muhairwe seized the opportunity to reiterate “that WHO will continue providing technical guidance and support to the IGAD MRH initiative, and also call upon AMRH partners; members of the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF) and other stakeholders to provide financial and technical support for the implementation of the proposal”.

Dr. Michael Ward highlighted that “the most challenging stage” was ahead. “Ensuring the continuity of the support from member states and mobilization of the financial support for the implementation of proposal are vital”, he said.

The meeting closed on a positive note with follow up pledges.