NAF Offers Free Medical Outreach To 100 IDPs In Lagos

NAF Offers Free Medical Outreach To 100 IDPs In Lagos

No fewer than 100 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) benefited from a free medical outreach offered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the free treatment was part of activities by the force to end the African Partnership Flight (APF) which started from Aug. 14 to Aug. 18.

The event took place at the Sam Ethnan Airforce Base, Ikeja, Lagos.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, who spoke at the closing ceremony, said the APF was designed to build strong partnerships to foster regional stability and security.

Abubakar, who was represented by the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Yahaya, said the exercise was also to foster security through formal alliances, partnerships and exchange of ideas among African air forces.

“I strongly believe that the specific objectives of this five-day event which culminated in a free medical outreach to about 100 IDPs have been largely achieved.

“I hope you will utilise the knowledge acquired to enhance the present effort at providing appropriate medical care in and outside the theatre of operation in the sub-region, particularly to counter insurgency operation in Lake Chad region and North Eastern Nigeria.

“I particularly wish to express my gratitude to the United States Air Forces Europe Command for selecting Nigeria to co-host this event and to our sister African countries for coming here to share their experiences,’’ he said.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, who was Special Guest of Honour, said that the motivation of the programme was aimed at capacity building and mutual cooperation.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Amb. Danjuma Sheni, he said the success in overcoming various security challenges confronting African countries depended on joint operations with neighbouring and allied countries.

“This is more so as the enemy in today’s wars appear to be largely the same, terrorism, and its range of operation cuts across boundaries of nations.

“Immediate examples are the Boko Haram and Al-Shabbab insurgencies in the North East Nigeria and East Africa, respectively.
“As sister and allied nations, we must therefore begin to evolve ways of thinking and training together, developing common doctrines and harnessing human and material resources to achieve set objectives,’’ he said.

According to him, training programmes like this are one of the ways to enhance interoperability.

“I am pleased that some participants from the Lake Chad basin countries which constitute the multinational joint task force that was created to confront the challenges of Boko Haram insurgents took part in this programme.

“I believe your participation will augur well for the success of our operation against the Boko Haram insurgents,’’ he said.

Mr Muhammadu Audu, one of the beneficiaries, expressed appreciation to the force for the gesture.

Also, Mr Abdulazeez Aliyu, another beneficiary, told NAN that he was happy for the gesture and prayed that the force would continue to succeed in its constitutional roles.

NAN also reports that Chad, Niger and Benin Republic participated in the US-backed APF – a multilateral military-to-military engagement designed to
boost African cooperation in aviation.

The medical outreach was used to render free medical check-ups and consultations, laboratory investigations, malaria and blood sugar tests and the provision of drugs.

Also, there were free blood pressure checks, eye examinations, as well as issuance of free eye glasses and free food to the IDPs.
NAF personnel gave health talks on topical issues relating to HIV/AIDS, malaria, the environment, personal and oral hygiene.

The medical team also distributed treated mosquito nets to the IDPs. (NAN)

West African countries offer aid to Sierra Leone, China donates $1m

West African countries offer aid to Sierra Leone, China donates $1m

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe and Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) donated $500,000 to President Ernest Bai Koroma during his visit to the country on Thursday.

He expressed his country and the region’s sympathies to Sierra Leoneans and wished that the money could help in emergency response efforts.

Gnassingbe’s gesture was complemented by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alain De Souza, who donated $300,000 for food and medical aid on behalf of the regional body.

De Souza accompanied the Chairperson Faure Gnassingbe to Freetown.

Senegal and the Ivory Coast sent delegations to Freetown on Wednesday to express their condolences to President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Senegal donated $100,000 and the Ivory Coast gave a tonne and a half of medical supplies.

The Guinean President and African Union Chairperson Alpha Conde visited the country a day earlier to personally express his sympathies.

On Thursday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited Freetown and joined President Koroma at the burial of the victims.

Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also said on Thursday that his country is sending relief items to Sierra Leone to aid in the recovery process.

The Ghana government has also set up a centre at the foreign affairs ministry to receive donations from the public to be sent to Sierra Leone.

Groups, organisations and individuals have also launched campaigns for donations to support victims of the mudslide that was caused by torrential rains.

President Ernest Bai Koroma, who appealed for urgent support after the disaster, praised the show of solidarity by the countries in the region.

“Such solidarity shows a sense of belonging in the typical African way when one of us is facing difficulties,” he said on Thursday.

He described the tragedy as unprecedented and thanked the donors for the timely intervention.

China made the biggest donation since the disaster struck by offering a million dollars for disaster relief including aid workers to offer medical help to injured victims.

The African Union Commission had called on Africans in the continent, diaspora and international partners to support Sierra Leone.

Here are 5 ways you can help fight HIV/AIDS in South Africa and globally

Here are 5 ways you can help fight HIV/AIDS in South Africa and globally

We just finished our POSITIVE series — stories of women and girls under the age of 24 living with HIV in South Africa. We called our Series POSITIVE not only because it centers on the stories of HIV-positive women and girls, but also because it was important to us to highlight stories of people who do not see such a diagnosis as an ending.

By talking to and learning from women who identify as HIVictors and help young people control their own sex education, it’s clear that there are people dedicated to positive solutions regarding HIV rates for young women.

If you were moved by our reporting, here are five ways that you can be part of the solution to this problem:

1. Learn the basics with a graphic novel, keep up with the latest research while you’re scanning your feeds, or raise money while hanging with your friends. Our pop culture hasn’t always had the best track record of depicting HIV/AIDS in nuanced, empathetic ways, but now you can do things like read this YA graphic novel on HIV transmission and prevention or follow orgs that produce cutting-edge research, like The HIV Medical Association or Columbia University’s HIV research arm, on Twitter. If you’d prefer to get your activism on with your favorite people, check out MTVStayingAlive.org for info on events and challenges you can attend together.

2. Support expansion of prevention methods. We told you about a medical trial that gives young women in South Africa more treatment options. You can donate to the clinic running that trial here, or learn more about the WITS Reproductive Health Institute that helps fund that trial and others like it, here.

3. Surround yourself with art that gives South African women a voice. We interviewed Lady Skollie, a South African visual artist who makes art spotlighting the value of female sexual expression and the threat of gender-based violence. You can look at, share images of, and ask about buying pieces from her her London gallery here, or learn more about her newest exhibition here. Also, Lady Skollie’s work is hugely influenced by her equally fierce and politically active sister Kim Windvogel, who runs this organization dedicated to educating young people about sex, gender, and reproductive rights.

If music is more your thing, check out the album Amazulu by South African singer Amanda Black, which tackles themes of empowerment and self-acceptance wrapped in smooth R&B and energetic hip-hop.

4. Volunteer in your neck of the woods or abroad. VolunteerMatch has a list of HIV/AIDS organizations in the United States that need volunteers, or you could check out this list of HIV/AIDS NGOs in South Africa that help train educators and get medicine and support to people who need it.

5. Support sex ed that kids will actually listen to. We talked to some youth radio reporters with the Children’s Radio Foundation in this story on Dr. Eve’s efforts to use the radio to get solid sex ed to young people in South Africa.

Bawumia set for Sierra Leone with $1m supplies for disaster victims

Bawumia set for Sierra Leone with $1m supplies for disaster victims

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia is expected to lead a government delegation to Sierra Leone where a tragic natural disaster has left about 400 dead and more than 600 displaced.

A statement from the Information Ministry said the Vice President will leave Accra on Saturday to present relief items which government says is valued at $1million.

The items include food, medicines, clothes and logistics for temporary shelters.

The move comes five days after a tragedy left the nation in mourning when rains on Monday triggered flooding and mudslide.
Other West African countries have been sending relief items to the beleaguered nation after its President, Ernest Bai Koroma made a desperate call for help.

Cote d’Ivoire is sending a plane full of drugs and medical equipment and the Minister of Health of that country is leading the delegation.

Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe and Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has donated $500,000 to President Koroma during his visit to the country on Thursday.

Senegal has donated $100,000. The biggest donor in terms of cash, has been China, offering a million dollars for disaster relief including aid workers to offer medical help to injured victims.

The West Africa Health Organisation, WAHO, the Health Institution of the regional bloc ECOWAS, is donating a sum of 300,000 dollars to the government of Sierra Leone.

Facing the threat of disease, people in Sierra Leone on Wednesday began burying hundreds of victims of a mudslide.

Compassus staffer picked for South Africa healthcare mission

Compassus staffer picked for South Africa healthcare mission

Compassus has selected Kammy Heuett, of Lakeside, to join a team of medical volunteers to assist Living Hope, the company’s sister hospice program in Cape Town, South Africa.

Her mission trip began Aug. 12 and will end Aug. 20.

The Compassus team, which includes two physicians, five registered nurses, two certified nursing assistants, a social worker, volunteer coordinator and chaplain, spent a week in Cape Town educating and assisting the Living Hope staff.

“I am most looking forward to an increased awareness of the suffering throughout South Africa, which I can reconcile within my own culture,” Heuett, director of clinical services for Compassus-Lakeside, said about her opportunity to participate. “I hope to spread the knowledge of our similarities instead of our differences and to teach that suffering is not unique to South Africa, rather it is how we as a patient, family or community choose to respond to suffering that makes us different.”

Through a partnership started in 2011, Compassus donates monetary aid, medical supplies and health care expertise to support Living Hope’s health care and hospice services in the impoverished township communities of Cape Town.

Living Hope, a ministry-based nonprofit, offers health care services, counseling and education to more than 200,000 underprivileged residents. Living Hope’s programs focus on improving general health and hospice care, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and economic empowerment. Living Hope provides healthcare for more than 36,000 South Africans annually through in-home visits, medical clinics and a 22-bed inpatient hospice center.

Compassus supports Living Hope in three ways: funding, education and hands-on medical assistance. The company matches voluntary employee donations to the dollar every year and also assists Living Hope with necessary medical supplies and equipment.

“As members of the hospice team, we have a calling to deliver compassionate care not only in our local communities, but also to those around the world. This partnership allows us the opportunity to do both,” said Debra Brackey, executive director of Compassus-Lakeside. “We are proud of Kammy and her fellow volunteers for embarking on this journey to help the sick and impoverished people of South Africa, and look forward to hearing about their experiences and how we can use what they learned on their trip here at home.”

Medical Exercise in Cameroon Enhances Army Readiness

Medical Exercise in Cameroon Enhances Army Readiness

As the sun begins to peek over the horizon, a 10-person Army medical team from the 212th Combat Support Hospital makes its way through the thick morning fog at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, mostly in silence. Some of the team members boarding the waiting C-130 Hercules aircraft have already been to the African continent, but for most, this is their first real Army mission and first time going to Africa.

“I’m nervous. A new place, new people, something different — it always gives me a bit of anxiety,” said Army Spc. Kess Houck, an operating room technician with the 212th CSH, taking in her surroundings right after touching down Aug. 5 at the military airstrip here. The team was supporting U.S. Army Africa-led Medical Readiness Training Exercise 17-5, which was held at the Military Hospital of Garoua. This exercise was the fifth and final such exercise in the 2017 series.

Unlike previous iterations this year that U.S. Army Africa facilitated on the African continent, this one allows the team to live on an established contingency location and work in northern Cameroon, outside of the partnered country’s capital. The lodging placed the soldiers in a field setting and simulated a deployed environment. For the team, field life is familiar.

“We spend a lot of time in the field, working as a unit and setting up a combat support hospital that is able to perform surgeries in no more than 72 hours,” said Army Capt. Charmayne Pope, an operations officer for MEDRETE 17-5 and a company commander for the 212th CSH. “That’s the mission of a CSH. We are a tailorable rapidly deployable surgical treatment facility with inpatient capacity.”

Setting Up

Landing on an airstrip, the group took in the difference in terrain and temperature. Escorted off the flight line by members of the local U.S. task force and transported to a green tent with six cots lining each side, each team member methodically chose their personal spaces for the next two weeks. Assessing how to make the tight quarters more functional, some strung up 550 cord, a versatile 7-strand nylon paracord, while others put up “privacy walls’ to accommodate the mixed-gender living conditions.

While setting up their lodging is a familiar task for members of this unit, they were not required to set up their own hospital facility in an austere environment. This exercise enabled them to work at a partnered nation’s established and alternatively resourced medical facility, shoulder to shoulder with their Cameroonian counterparts.

The U.S. group, ranging in age, gender and professional skill level, was equipped with a full surgical and emergency medical team supported by administrative personnel. The experienced personnel balanced the neophytes and increased the training possibilities available to the team. Each junior professional paired up with senior team members throughout the exercise, and the twosome then partnered with Cameroonian medical staff.

Skilled, but less experienced team members were deliberately chosen to participate because of their potential to positively influence the future of their career field, Pope said.

“We invested in the Army’s future. We chose certain people to allow them to continue growing in their field,” she added.

Establishing Relationships

Being the first MEDRETE U.S. Army Africa has facilitated in this region, the team concentrated on establishing professional and personal relationships with their Cameroonian counterparts to set the stage for future collaborations. Throughout the two-week exercise, the team rotated personnel through the different areas of the hospital — emergency room, operating room, patient wards and clinics — to offer them a deeper understanding of the processes and an opportunity to interact with all the Cameroonian army medical staff.

The MEDRETE team’s junior medic was able to observe a routine surgery the U.S. surgical team and their Cameroonian counterparts performed together. The young soldier entered the operating room wearing borrowed green scrubs and watched as the surgeons and technicians worked together.

“It was my first time in an actual operating room,” Army Pfc. Jason Macha said. “Watching our team members partner with the Cameroonian staff was very interesting to watch. I didn’t realize how tedious surgery was, and it was an opportunity I was glad to have.”

More seasoned members of the team also witnessed things they hadn’t seen before. Emergency room physician Army Maj. (Dr.) Warren Johnson, who is 10 years into his career, saw two separate pathologies that he hasn’t witnessed before: bilateral kidney stones severe enough to cause renal obstruction and gestational transfer of malaria.

“A mission like this opens eyes,” Pope said. “It exposes my medical personnel to different environments, allowing them to see treatment of patients with different techniques, with less equipment, and challenges them to provide the same level of care with less.”

The gained knowledge of different treatment processes and exposure to an alternatively resourced environment benefits the American soldiers in their individual medical capacities, said Army Capt. Matthew Veith, a critical care nurse..

“[The exercise] has offered our team the chance to gain knowledge on how our allies and partners do business,” he added. “There are some obvious differences and some obvious challenges. … I was honored to be a part of this mission, and working with their team only strengthens the Army medical capabilities and readiness in the future.”

S.A. Expressed the Importance of Local Doctors Studying in Cuba

S.A. Expressed the Importance of Local Doctors Studying in Cuba

A public health official in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal expressed today the importance of local doctors studying in Cuba in promoting government plans for universal and quality medical care in this country.

According to Sikongiseni Dlomo, head of Health in that province, the experience of South African doctors trained in Cuba will be crucial in boosting the National Insurance plan.

In a meeting with about 300 youngsters who are studying medicine and are in South Africa on vacation, Dlomo told them about the practical experiences they have gained while working in public hospitals during their stay in their homeland.

It is important to value their training in Cuba, which is oriented towards primary health care, which is what we need to make this program succeed, commented the director, after praising the way in which the future doctors prepared in Cuba have responded.

State help for Pondoland’s green fingers

State help for Pondoland’s green fingers

Cannabis has been produced as a cash crop in the Eastern Cape’s Pondoland villages for decades. It is the livelihood for many households in these villages.

Depending on the yield and on its quality, some farmers can make an estimated income of R40 000 to R60 000 from these crops each year, according to a report in the Sunday Times last year.

Although the use of cannabis remains illegal in South Africa, a ruling by the Western Cape High Court earlier this year allowing the private use of cannabis could point to a relaxation of these laws in the near future.

Some commentators have indicated that lobbying for cannabis decriminalisation may not yield positive results for poor Pondoland villages. In fact, an increased supply may result in the lowering of prices as the illegality of cannabis is believed to keep the prices high.

However, this remains to be seen as the economy has drastically increased in places where cannabis has been legalised.

For instance, in Colorado, a western US state, since the decriminalisation of cannabis, unemployment has been drastically reduced. Before cannabis was legalised, Colorado’s unemployment rate was 7.7%. However, recent statistics show an unemployment rate of only 3.2%.

Additionally, the cannabis industry has generated $1.3-billion (R17.3-billion) in profit and $200-million (R2.7-billion) in tax revenue.

The question of whether to legalise the use of cannabis and its products has been debated around the world for decades. Scientific evidence demonstrates there are significant benefits associated with the medical use of cannabis products.

There are several cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs which either contain or have similar chemicals to those found in marijuana plants. Although some of these drugs have not yet been accepted in this country, some are already available on European and American markets. For instance, Sativex and Nabilone which are manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, respectively, are some of the cannabis-based drugs approved in the UK, US and Denmark.

Nabiximols, a drug made from an extract obtained from the whole cannabis plant, is available in Canada to control pain linked to cancer. The same drug is now undergoing clinical trials in the US.

In South Africa, although cannabis is illegal, a couple of cannabis products have appeared on the market. These include cannabis oil that allegedly help control cancer linked pain.

Due to the beneficial effects of cannabis, the Department of Health will be releasing the guidelines for medical use of marijuana by the end of the year.

A recent report by Medicine Control Council (MCC) indicates that the medical use of cannabis could be beneficial in instances where other treatments have failed. In fact, the MCC has already allowed the importation of unregistered pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids for medical use.

The Industrial Development Corporation has also called research proposals from researchers and research institutions to investigate the medical use of cannabis.

If the South African government decides to legalise cannabis for medical purposes, local pharmaceutical companies are going to require reliable suppliers.

Interestingly, in accordance to Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act 101 of 1965), the MCC has already set guidelines for the cultivation of cannabis and manufacture of cannabis-based pharmaceutical products for both medical and research purposes.

These guidelines set standards for the production of cannabis and also identify the critical production steps to ensure a reliable and reproducible quality of the product.

Notably, in terms of the provisions of Sections 22C (1)(b) of the Medicines Act, cannabis farmers are required to apply to the MCC for a licence. Farmers must also, in terms of Section 22A (9)(a)(i) of the Act, apply to the director-general of health for a permit to produce and supply cannabis.

These regulations are designed to help control the amount of cannabis produced in the local market and to prevent the diversion of cannabis to the illicit market. This is in line with the international commitment to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to which South Africa is a signatory.

Another guideline includes the training of personnel appointed to oversee the growing of cannabis.

Strict policies and strong security measures for the cannabis fields are critical for the MCC and the Department of Health to even consider issuing the necessary licence and permit. Failing to follow the security requirements can also easily lead to the withdrawal of the licence and permit by the authorities.

Clearly, the standards set by the MCC and Department of Health will be hard to achieve by those in the poor Pondoland villages without the support of the government.

I therefore call for the MEC of the Eastern Cape department of rural development and agrarian reform Mlibo Qoboshiyane to ensure that the Pondoland villages are not left behind in developing this important resource.

Such assistant will obviously include training and funding for the establishment of well-secured cannabis facilities.

The Eastern Cape government should set guidelines on how these farmers can be assisted to ensure they make a meaningful contribution to the growing economy.

Considering the current debate on how expensive pharmaceutical drugs are in South Africa, Pondoland’s villages could play an important role in producing and supplying highly affordable but quality raw material and thereby leading to reduction of drug prices.

At the Southern African Trade and Investment Hub, Tinashe Kapuya indicated that “monopolies are not desirables, as they lead to an inefficient price discovery, which in turn leads to companies charging more than prevailing market prices”.

Pondoland has, for decades, been known as the “headquarters” of cannabis production in the Eastern Cape.

And indeed, we have witnessed their cannabis fields being destroyed by police and the use of the Monsanto, weed-killer Roundup.

If the Eastern Cape government is serious about eradicating poverty and bringing radical economic transformation, helping Pondoland villages to obtain licences and permits for controlled cannabis production for medical purposes will be a progressive move.

It will allow the poor communities to participate in the economy and also to be significant stakeholders in the highly lucrative pharmaceutical industry.

Moreover, more jobs will be created and such initiative may indirectly decrease crime.

These are some of the benefits that could be accrued if the Eastern Cape government would play a proactive role regarding cannabis production and the supply of this resource to the pharmaceutical industry.

A month ago the Zimbabwe press reported that the Zimbabwean government is considering decriminalising cannabis to lure investors from Canada who have already applied for permits to produce the herb for medical purposes.

If the Pondoland villages are to out-compete other producers, it is critical that the Eastern Cape government plays a leading role in assisting the farmers.

Holy Trinity SPA Manageress is best in West Africa

Holy Trinity SPA Manageress is best in West Africa

Mrs Diana Mamle Bansah, General Manageress, Holy Trinity and Health Farm, has been adjudged the best Female in Health SPA and Wellness Management at the third Ghana Feminine Awards.

She was said to have brought to bear, rich experiences in spa therapy and management in running Ghana’s first and only medical spa at Sogakope in the Volta Region.

Her introduction of exclusive health and wellness products and services reportedly masterminded the “ascension of wellness facility that attracts people from all over the West African sub-region,” the citation read.

The beauty therapist and fitness instructor told the Ghana News Agency that her passion for beauty and desire to contribute to the promotion of tourism through the provision of “benchmark innovative healthcare by incorporating preventive, curative and rehabilitative complementary and alternative medical practices into orthodox healthcare system” won her the award.

She dedicated the award to staff of Holy Trinity and Health Farm and said the award would motivate the Spa to “lead a global paradigm shift in blissful and proactive healthcare.”

Patient groups welcome release of Draft Intellectual Property Policy

Patient groups welcome release of Draft Intellectual Property Policy

For decades, South African patients have grappled with inaccessible health care services and affordable drugs – even while on medical aid.

Nearly eight years after the South African government committed to reforming the country’s patent laws in 2009, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), has finally released a new draft Intellectual Property Policy. The move has since been welcomed by 34 patient advocacy groups who make up The Fix the Patent Laws Coalition (FTPL).

The release of the policy has been described as a positive step towards advancing the constitutionally guaranteed right of access to health care services and access to affordable drugs.

“Many people in South Africa continue to die and suffer because they cannot access the medicines that they need,” says Claire Waterhouse, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Access Campaign advocacy officer. “This policy provides hope to those people. It is up to the government to deliver on this promise by swiftly implementing wide-ranging law reform in line with this policy”.

Without these reforms, many medicines for cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis and mental health in South Africa will remain unaffordable or unavailable in South Africa and people will continue to suffer and die, the Fix the patent LAWS campaign said in a statement.

Entecavir – a chronic medicine to treat hepatitis B – is unavailable in the public sector due to its cost. It is available in the private sector at more than R5 500 per month, while in comparison, it is available in India at R480. Celecoxib – which treats pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis – is 80 percent more expensive in South Africa than India.

Although the FTPL will study in detail the draft policy and make comprehensive comments to assist the dti and partners to implement the reforms, the coalition has shared its preliminary views that strongly support the draft policy.

In particular, the coalition supports the following:
1. We support the implementation of a system of substantive search and examination of patent applications in order to ensure compliance with existing law and to ensure that only applications deserving of patent protection are granted. We agree with the proposed incremental approach, which we submit can be achieved by starting with the pharmaceutical sector and by considering outsourcing of the examination of applications for patents.
2. We support the recommendation to introduce pre- and post-grant opposition procedures in our law. We agree that such procedures are beneficial in that they ensure that the patent examiner has access to relevant information concerning the patent application. Third parties, which could include generic companies and civil society groups, will be able to assist the patent examiner in the decision-making process. We encourage an administratively cost-effective procedure and wide access to information concerning patent applications to enable third parties to intervene. We will make detailed submissions on potential interim procedures to enable such interventions as early as possible.
3. We welcome the commitment to develop patentability criteria in line with the state’s “constitutional obligations, developmental goals and public policy priorities” as well as the intention to utilise available flexibilities to strike the correct balance between promoting innovation and protecting the rights of IP holders and users (patients). We hope that this stated intention will lead to fewer poor quality or ever-greening patents being granted in South Africa and that instead only true innovations will be rewarded with patent protection.
4.We support the recommendations to introduce non-judicial, cost effective and expeditious mechanisms to obtain medicines through the issuance of compulsory licences. In this regard, we support the recommendation to remove the requirement that a government department first negotiate terms of a licence before approaching a court to seek a compulsory licence. This is not required by the TRIPS Agreement and should be removed through the necessary amendments to the Patents Act.