WINDHOEK - The shared procurement of essential medicines and commodities in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has been identified as a priority with the aim to establish an autonomous non-profit organisation called the SADC Pooled Procurement Services.
This was said by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during his keynote address at the opening of the 38th SADC Summit last Friday. Ramaphosa further said the Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation project focuses on establishing and strengthening regional and sub-regional networks of regulatory authorities.
Speaking on the issue, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, told New Era yesterday that the matter has been discussed at various platforms even before the summit convened.
The problem is that up until now individual Southern African states are having their own registration of medicines different from each other.
Health ministers in the region are working on common medicine registration to have common laws applicable to countries in the region in procuring medicines, noted the Namibian health minister.
“The avenues are there already for pooled procurement. We can buy together but we still have to register products individually as countries,” explained Haufiku.
With Namibia as the new SADC chair, Haufiku said he would push for the registration laws to be in conformity with each other.
He also said the World Health Organisation has the Global Drug Facility Agency used by countries to buy medicine at a cheaper rate and that he would push for Namibia and SADC states to uniformly procure medicine through that avenue as a bloc.
“We are pushing for the harmonisation of laws to buy medicines including contraceptives, vaccines and antiretroviral drugs as a bloc,” said Haufiku.
Comprehensive sexuality education and sexual reproductive health and rights, common sharing of knowledge, reducing tuberculosis and achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals are matters high on Haufiku’s agenda during Namibia’s tenure of the SADC chairmanship.
With regard to medicine procurement in Namibia, Haufiku said the suppliers who are normally middlemen inflate the prices of medicines by three or four times and the plan is to do away with middlemen in order to buy medicine at cheaper prices.
“Those medicines are more expensive and we’re bypassing that,” added Haufiku.
2018-08-21 09:13:13 10 months ago