Category Archives: General

Developing Africa’s pharmaceutical sector crucial, says Economic Commission Africa’s Soteri

There is an urgent need to develop the pharmaceutical sector in Africa to reduce the continent’s dependence on imported pharmaceutical and medical products, says Economic Commission for Africa’s Soteri Gatera.

Mr. Gatera, Chief of the Industrialization and Infrastructure Section at the ECA, says Africa bears a disproportionate burden of disease with, for example, more than 70 percent of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases and 90 percent of deaths due to malaria raising the need to encourage local production of drugs.

Non-communicable diseases are also becoming increasingly prominent across the continent given the demographic changes that are taking place,rdquo; he told participants in the meeting hosted by the ECA, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Non-communicable diseases are predicted to overtake infectious diseases as the leading causes of death in Africa by 2030.

The situation is worsened by the continent’s significant challenges in accessing high-quality pharmaceuticals, exacerbating a continued high burden of disease.

The availability of essential drugs in the public sector across the continent has been reported to be less than 60 percent. The major factor being that Africa is hugely dependent on imported pharmaceutical and medical products.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of ARVs used on the continent are imported from outside the continent with 70 percent of the pharmaceutical and medical products market being served by foreign imports.

An international standard, commercially viable pharmaceutical industry in Africa can contribute to improved access to effective, safe and affordable essential medicines and economic development,rdquo; said Mr. Soteri.

From the health perspective, he added, a key potential benefit is to develop a source of quality assured medicines across products including those for the pandemic diseases (HIV, TB and malaria) as well as the broader range of essential medicines.

Through proximity of production, resource-constrained regulators can properly oversee the manufacturing of products produced in the region compared to the level of scrutiny that is possible for distant suppliers, said Mr. Soteri.

The immense need for drugs presents a potential market opportunity for pharmaceutical companies on the continent.

For example, he said, the current number of persons on ARV treatment on the continent represents a market opportunity of over US$ 1 billion.

This market will more than treble over the next decade as more people are placed on ARV treatment and other uses of ARVs are expanded.

The total pharmaceutical spending for the continent in 2012 was estimated at US$ 18 billion and it is projected to reach US$ 45 billion by 2020.

In addition to providing a secure source of medicines and a potentially large market, local production of pharmaceuticals also:

* advance industrial development,

* move the continent towards sustainability of the health sector response,

*reduce external dependency,

*facilitate stronger regulatory oversight to curtail counterfeit products,

*enable production of drugs for diseases that primarily affect Africa,

*improve the trade balance,

*create jobs

*and could serve as a catalyst to developing a broader manufacturing and knowledge-based economy.

Mr. Soteri also enunciated a number of measures taken by the AUC and its partners to promote the manufacture of medicines in Africa in line with the accelerated industrialization initiative for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.

The untapped opportunities lend themselves to a wide array of partnerships for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development. The partnerships would create higher-skilled jobs, build equitable societies and safeguard the environment, while sustaining economic growth,rdquo; he said.

The workshop sought to validate an ECA report titled; Review of Policies and Strategies for the Pharmaceutical Production Sector in Africa: Policy coherence, best practices and future prospectiverdquo; in which policies and strategies for the pharmaceutical sector in Africa are reviewed with a view to assess the level of policy coherence, capturing best practices and painting future prospects for the sector.

The report provides an overview of the status of pharmaceutical production in Africa and identifies levels and quality of production on the continent.

It is hoped, the final knowledge product will influence African governments to take appropriate actions that will transform the sector from being a coffer-drainer to a substantive contributor to Africa’s GDP, said Mr. Soteri.

Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

South Africa: Committee to Visit Mangaung Health Facilities

The Select Committee on Social Services will this today continue with its oversight programme in Free State province to assess progress of commitments made by the Provincial Department of Health during the 2017 Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) programme in the Province.

The Committee will visit various healthcare sites to see first-hand if indeed interventions have been implemented. Today, the Committee will visit the following healthcare facilities, MUCPP CHC, Thusong Clinic, Kagisanong Clinic and Gabriel Dichabe Clinic.

Details of the Visit

Date: Wednesday, 01 August 2018

Venue: MUCPP CHC

Time: 09:30

Source: Republic of South Africa: The Parliament

President Ramaphosa extends condolences on the Passing of South African Cardiologist Professor Bongani Mayosi

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his heartfelt condolences on the passing of renowned South African cardiologist Professor Bongani Mayosi.

Professor Bongani Mawethu Mayosi was the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town and an A-rated National Research Foundation researcher.

Professor Mayosi was also honoured with the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver for his achievements in the international arena which have served South Africa#39;s interests. National Orders are the highest awards that a country, through its President, bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.

His death is indeed an enormous loss not only to his family but to the country as a whole. On behalf of government and South Africans as a whole, we convey our most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and relatives, and the health science fraternity. May his soul rest in peacerdquo; Ramaphosa said.

Source: Republic of South Africa: The Presidency

What Zimbabweans Say About First Post-Mugabe Poll

Zimbabwe holds its first general election without its founding leader Robert Mugabe on the ballot Monday.

Mugabe took the oath of office in 1980 as Zimbabwe’s first leader after independence. He was to be the country’s head for the next 37 years � until November last year when military pressure led him to resign.

Until his sudden address to reporters Sunday Mugabe had largely been quiet, except in March when he said his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had taken power through a coup. On Sunday he said he would not vote for Mnangagwa and ZANU- PF, a party he formed in the 1960s.

Jealousy Mawarire of the National Patriotic Front which is largely associated with the former first family, says the 94-year-old former leader still has a role to play.

He is a very important factor [in this election] in the sense that they are millions of people who were within ZANU-PF who respected him and believed in his pro-people stunts, says Mawarire.

While during the election campaign Mnangagwa has avoided mentioning Mugabe, his ZANU-PF party has said the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, is the one closest to the former president.

In his final rally Saturday, Chamisa said he talks to Mugabe but there is no reason for the ruling ZANU-PF to disown its old man.

We understand that Mugabe was wrong in some of his actions, but he was not alone, he was with Mnangagwa. But that is not my focus, the focus is not the past, the focus is the future,” he said. “Past mistakes we correct, past omissions we remedy, past omissions we relieve but when we move forward we ask those who ruled first, where they went wrong that’s how we solve things as we are moving forward.

ZANU-PF supporters are divided about Mugabe.

When I think of Mugabe’s time we had become slaves, housing stands were taken away from us. This was painful and is still very painful to us, we feel that this is not good, says Everson Chimungungu from Epworth, just outside Harare.

I don’t want to hear about Mugabe because I’m now 48 years old and I feel that he is responsible for who I have become because I have never worked in my life, said Zvichemo Homani from Mutoko, about 200 km east of Harare.

And 73-year-old Helen Katandika from Arcturus mining-farming area just outside Harare who says she will vote for Mnangagwa.

“During the Mugabe era we were living quite well here because we have our land,” she said. “We are fairly outsiders when it comes to whether Mugabe rule was good or bad, it was amongst his colleagues in Harare who saw that he was old and needed him to retire.”

While the ZANU-PF party might try to disown Mugabe, Alexander Rusero, a senior lecturer of journalism and international politics at Harare Polytechnic College says this election is crucial for Mnangagwa.

ZANU-PF is trying to legitimize itself because by and large what happened after the ouster of Robert Mugabe you have a government that has questionable legitimacy, political legitimacy this government desperately needs,” he said. “Mnangagwa is in desperate need of endorsement to say that at least we are governing through the concern of the people, through the consent of the electorate, so this election is equally important to them should they win it because it will clear the dark episode of what happened in November.

Results of Monday’s first post-Mugabe general election are expected by Saturday.

Source: Voice of America

What Zimbabweans Say About First Post-Mugabe Poll

Zimbabwe holds its first general election without its founding leader Robert Mugabe on the ballot Monday.

Mugabe took the oath of office in 1980 as Zimbabwe’s first leader after independence. He was to be the country’s head for the next 37 years � until November last year when military pressure led him to resign.

Until his sudden address to reporters Sunday Mugabe had largely been quiet, except in March when he said his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had taken power through a coup. On Sunday he said he would not vote for Mnangagwa and ZANU- PF, a party he formed in the 1960s.

Jealousy Mawarire of the National Patriotic Front which is largely associated with the former first family, says the 94-year-old former leader still has a role to play.

He is a very important factor [in this election] in the sense that they are millions of people who were within ZANU-PF who respected him and believed in his pro-people stunts, says Mawarire.

While during the election campaign Mnangagwa has avoided mentioning Mugabe, his ZANU-PF party has said the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, is the one closest to the former president.

In his final rally Saturday, Chamisa said he talks to Mugabe but there is no reason for the ruling ZANU-PF to disown its old man.

We understand that Mugabe was wrong in some of his actions, but he was not alone, he was with Mnangagwa. But that is not my focus, the focus is not the past, the focus is the future,” he said. “Past mistakes we correct, past omissions we remedy, past omissions we relieve but when we move forward we ask those who ruled first, where they went wrong that’s how we solve things as we are moving forward.

ZANU-PF supporters are divided about Mugabe.

When I think of Mugabe’s time we had become slaves, housing stands were taken away from us. This was painful and is still very painful to us, we feel that this is not good, says Everson Chimungungu from Epworth, just outside Harare.

I don’t want to hear about Mugabe because I’m now 48 years old and I feel that he is responsible for who I have become because I have never worked in my life, said Zvichemo Homani from Mutoko, about 200 km east of Harare.

And 73-year-old Helen Katandika from Arcturus mining-farming area just outside Harare who says she will vote for Mnangagwa.

“During the Mugabe era we were living quite well here because we have our land,” she said. “We are fairly outsiders when it comes to whether Mugabe rule was good or bad, it was amongst his colleagues in Harare who saw that he was old and needed him to retire.”

While the ZANU-PF party might try to disown Mugabe, Alexander Rusero, a senior lecturer of journalism and international politics at Harare Polytechnic College says this election is crucial for Mnangagwa.

ZANU-PF is trying to legitimize itself because by and large what happened after the ouster of Robert Mugabe you have a government that has questionable legitimacy, political legitimacy this government desperately needs,” he said. “Mnangagwa is in desperate need of endorsement to say that at least we are governing through the concern of the people, through the consent of the electorate, so this election is equally important to them should they win it because it will clear the dark episode of what happened in November.

Results of Monday’s first post-Mugabe general election are expected by Saturday.

Source: Voice of America