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Africa: Island States in Africa Take New Steps Towards Collaborative Medicines Purchasing

Mar 28, 2024 | Health | 0 comments

Victoria: Ministers of Health from small African island states established a secretariat and elected Mauritius as the host to launch joint operations to increase access to affordable, quality-assured, and safe medicines and medical supplies.

The 2020 pooled procurement programme, signed by Cabo Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome & Principe, and Seychelles, African Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and endorsed by Madagascar, aims to coordinate the affordable purchase of selected medicines and medical products, harmonise medicines management systems, improve supplier performance, and reduce procurement workload. The programme creates a secretariat, technical committees, and a council of ministers and outlines its principles and governance structure.

The ministers convening for the 8th SIDS summit in Victoria, Seychelles, established a secretariat to finish the joint procurement project.

“Mauritius is honoured to host the pooled drugs procurement secretariat, and we thank fellow SIDS countries and Madagascar for their trust,” said Hon Kailesh Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We will assume this duty with the care and rigour that it requires for the common good of all people and countries represented.”

Since 2017, SIDS countries have committed to pooled procurement.

I applaud Mauritius for being elected secretariat host. This benefits everyone. “Our unique position as SIDS in Africa unites and strengthens us,” stated Cabo Verde Health Minister Hon Filomena Gonçalves. “We will continue to play an important role in moving the agenda of pooled procurement forward and will work closely with our partners, including WHO.”

At the 25-27 March 2024 meeting, ministers and government representatives also agreed to strengthen health efforts, including health emergency preparedness and response, health system strengthening, and climate change mitigation and adaptation, to which island nations are particularly vulnerable.

“We’ve collaborated to find new ways to get our voices heard in all the crucial global arenas. Even when we don’t have the capacity, SIDS can help. “We’re small, but we act big,” remarked Seychelles Health Minister Peggy Vidot.

Guinea-Bissau, a new SIDS member, and Madagascar, who accepted the offer to join the SIDS Network project and combined procurement efforts, attended their first meeting.

“This meeting will be historic. We’ve had productive discussions and taken significant decisions that will affect SIDS and the region. SIDS will get technical assistance from WHO to implement the meeting’s actions, “Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The African SIDS gathering provides a collective voice for global SIDS events, such as the Fourth International Conference on SIDS, which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda in late May 2024.

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