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An African Pooled Procurement Mechanism will enhance quality and safe medical supplies for a resilient continent

15 May, 2024
An African Pooled Procurement Mechanism will enhance quality and safe medical supplies for a resilient continent

Mombasa, Kenya, 15 May 2024 (ECA) – An African Pooled Procurement Mechanism (APPM) presents an opportunity for the continent to collectively work towards lowering the cost of pharmaceutical products, and harmonize regulations that will enhance quality and safe medical supplies for the continent, says Susan Nakhumicha, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health at the African Ministers of Health, Finance and Trade, experts and development partners meeting in Mombasa, Kenya.

The meeting is expected to adopt an approach towards the operationalization of the start-up phase of the AfCFTA-anchored Pharmaceutical Initiative (Pharma Initiative) into the start-up Phase of the African Pooled Procurement Mechanism (APPM) led by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) with support of Afreximbank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary said that Kenya is committed to be part of the APPM initiative as lowering the cost of health care is one of the four pillars of the country’s universal health coverage.

“Africa continues to face the challenges of delivery of quality and affordable products, a major obstacle making healthcare inaccessible for millions across our continents,” said Ms. Nakhumicha.

“There is therefore a need to address the high cost of medicines, commodities and other health related products for the continent to deliver on the promise of universal health coverage.”

Echoing her remarks, Hanan Morsy, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said as a continent with 1.4 billion people,18% of the world population, it is imperative for Africa to learn from the vulnerabilities exposed by recent health emergencies, the evolving burden of pandemics; as well as the linkages that need to be made to address the challenges preventing the attainment of sustainable and inclusive development in Africa,” said Ms. Morsy.

In this regard, she said the opportunities provided by continental initiatives such as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, the benefits accrued from the implementation of the AfCFTA, and the efforts of the Africa Medicines Agency “would significantly contribute to fulfilling Africa’s aspiration to strengthen local manufacturing and kick start the envisioned 4th Industrial Revolution.”

The APPM is the result of a decision of the African Union Summit, where the Heads of State and Government recognized the need to establish the pooled procurement mechanism  under the leadership of Africa CDC and endorsed the AMSP as the platform  for the mechanism. Consequently,  the AfCFTA-anchored Pharma Initiative  is now being implemented  in the APPM.  The three day meeting is jointly organized by the Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and partners.

The goal of operationalizing pooled procurement is to improve the affordability, availability, and equitable access to essential medical supplies across the continent. Additionally, it is also to shape the market, facilitate local production, create job and  transform African economies.

For his part, Dr.  Abebe  Bayih, the Acting Coordinator of the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) said the APPM has a unique value proposition of locally manufactured health products and technologies that meet global standards. Adding a strong collective bargaining power to this value proposition would help African countries to achieve supply security and reduced costs. ​

​“Implementation of the majority of the core functions in the start-up phase will be done in cooperation with partners,” he said adding that the APPM’s capabilities will be established over time, with a clear line of sight towards the mature stage.

Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division at ECA said implementing the pooled procurement has implementing the Pharma Initiative under the pooled procurement pillar has the potential to assist African countries in the achievement of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 of AU, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“In particular, APPM will contribute to the achievement of SDG 3, by ensuring improved access to safe, quality, and affordable health products, and building resilient economies by accelerating the 4th industrial revolution,” said Mr. Karingi.

“Linking this health initiative to AfCFTA and African Medicines Agency presents great opportunities with a potential to change lives, reduce poverty, and contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic development for the continent.”

In  remarks read on her behalf, Chamdimba Chamdimba, Head of Health at AUDA-NEPAD) said in the current phase, participating countries have worked closely with experts, developing  key Pooled Procurement tools, including a data sharing platform that would help facilitate member states in their procurement decision making.

She said that lessons from implementing the Pharma Initiative for the past five years calls for facilitating and advocating for local production for resilient, inclusive, and sustainable health systems in Africa where the private sector fills in the gaps and contributes to improved health outcomes on the Continent.

Additionally, she said it is important that we build our manufacturing capacity in Africa. “There may be some in South Africa, a few in Nigeria and maybe in Egypt, but we need to pool together, produce our own medicines, and share the African market.”

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826