WMF interviewed about the African Medicines Agency
Recently, CIDRAP News (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) interviewed World Medical Fund (#WMF) Board Member Dr Faiz Kermani about the exciting prospects for the African Medicines Agency (AMA) He also discussed WMF's work in #Malawi in providing free healthcare to children in rural areas.
As the #CIDRAP news article explains, the #regulatory agency will officially begin operating Nov 5 under the African Union (AU). The development of the African Medicines Agency has the potential to align rules regarding and regulations across different African countries and improve the safety of #medicines in the region, but the path to achieving this is far from easy.
At present, not every African country approached has agreed to be involved. Based on his past experience of writing about #healthcare and #regulatory developments in #Africa and in other world regions Dr Kermani discussed the challenges that the new organization might face and ways to move forward. As he told #CIDRAP News, ""The AMA model will be something new in the region and so hesitation is surely only natural," adding that the AMA's regional challenges will be different than ones facing similar programs in #Europe, #Asia, and Latin America. "Smaller countries don't really want to get bossed around or don't want to feel like they don't have a say." Some observers have been looking at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as an example to follow, but as Dr Kermani cautions ,"We can look at the EMA for some inspiration of how the AMA could develop, but we need to be very careful in making too many comparisons. Africa is very different to Europe and the #political, #economic and #health-related situations of the countries involved in the AMA initiative are quite different to those #European Union (#EU) Member States involved in the #EMA."
Some of the issues that the AMA will face are practical on the ground issues and this is where WMF has had a lot of experience. #Infrastructure and #IT issues will need to be taken into account, as well as ensuring sufficient numbers of qualified staff to work on the AMA's projects. Dr Kermani cautioned that these issues should not be overlooked and highlighted a number of practical issues that have interfered with WMF's work in rural areas, such as #roads being destroyed by bad weather and damage to vehicles, such as #mobile operating theatres.
As the #CIDRAP news article outlines, previous attempts to align viewpoints in Africa have faltered, but Dr Kermani still expressed an optimistic viewpoint. "Even the simple convenience of having a #communication mechanism in place when one country wants to talk to another country about #medicine, is a great step forward." More broadly, though, he hopes that the AMA's will help make medicines available sooner in all of Africa, including the remote villages of #Malawi that the World Medical Fund helps bring healthcare to.