(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17th February 2024)

Zambia has supported the ratification of the international agreement on Africa Medicines Agency (AMA) whose main objective is to enhance capacity of state parties and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to regulate medicines and medical products.

Speaking during the Panel Discussion on AMA and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) on the margins of the 37th ordinary session of the Assembly of African Union (AU) being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Hon. Masebo indicated that the Zambian Cabinet, at its 16th (Special) meeting, approved Zambia’s accession to the treaty on the establishment of the African Medicines Agency.

This is in order to improve access to quality, safe and efficacious medical products on the continent. “It is our hope that this desired use of continental institutional, scientific and regulatory capabilities will facilitate the harmonization of regulatory requirements of the national medicines regulatory authorities (NMRAS) of the member states of the AU.

This will lead to meeting acceptable international standards. It will further facilitate a favorable environment for research and development and local pharmaceutical production. It will also foster trade across countries on the African continent”, Hon. Masebo said.

The Minister congratulated Rwanda for being the host country to the AMA. She informed delegates that Zambia continues to make steady progress towards fighting NTDs and is committed to eliminating these diseases in Zambia.

“Sadly, NTDs mostly affect the poor and marginalized society of the country. They arise from lack of adequate social amenities such as clean, safe water and sanitary facilities. The affect people may also live in distant places that are far from health facilities to treat their ailments promptly”, she stated.

Hon. Masebo said the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, through the Ministry of Health, has championed an active NTDs Program.

This program focus on the control of about 16 diseases in Zambia through preventive chemotherapy, veterinary public health, provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene vector and intermediate host control and case management and rehabilitation.

The Minister has also urged member states to domesticate the Kigali declaration on NTDs. This declaration was created in consultation with stakeholders around the world and it puts individuals, communities, and countries at the centre of the NTD response.  “Let each one of our nations make a unique and vital contribution towards ending NTDs.

Let us advocate for substantial commitments from donor governments, endemic country governments, pharmaceutical companies, NGOs and individuals in financial, material and technical commitments.  Together we can control, eliminate and eradicate NTDs as we march towards a better, safer and healthier world”, the Minister said.

AU member countries were urged to seriously consider rabies, one of the NTDs, as a danger to society.  The burden of the disease is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with the majority of deaths occurring in children younger than 15 years old. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccination as part of the post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for all people exposed to the virus.

Member countries were further informed that support for Rabies vaccine for post-exposure prophylactic use is currently being considered by Gavi, the vaccine alliance, as part of its Vaccine Investment Strategy (VIS) with a start planned by 2025. Therefore, member states were encouraged to take advantage of this important development to minimize mortality related to Rabies.

Other speakers at the event included WHO Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti and Thoko Pooley from the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases Organisation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *