Uganda has partnered with African countries to come up with a single African medicine Agency (AMA) aimed at strengthening the quality and safety of medicines for patients.
AMA is a patient-centred body expected to be launched next year by the African Union (AU), the Agency will protect public health and promote pharmaceutical sector development in Africa by ensuring that medical products in use meet internationally recognized standards of quality, safety and efficacy.
Uganda is part of the process in setting up the African Medicine Agency since it is a member state to AU.
Speaking during the African Regional meeting on harmonisation for Patient-Centred Universal Health Coverage in Africa at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe on Tuesday, the Commissioner planning at the ministry of health Dr Sarah Byakika noted “the Agency gives an opportunity to harmonise the establishment of patient universal health coverage and improve access to safe and acceptable medicines in Africa,”
She said that the body will address some of the entrenched inequality and inequity faced by many patients in Africa with regard to access to quality medicines.
Joshua Wamboga, the board member for International Alliance of patients’ organisation (IAPO) emphasised that the move will minimize unregulated medicines that come on the market.
“This agency will help emerging local industries grow locally in our country and Africa as a whole. Expanding access to the medicines that is one thing that we will see happening,” Wamboga said.
The meeting attracted delegates from Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria.
World Health Organisation (WHO) medical officer Dr Mugaga Kaggwa said WHO has established tools for accessing the safety, effectiveness and acceptability of medicine before they enter into countries for consumption.
He said globally 1 in 10 hospitalised patients experience harm caused not only by medicine but also by equipment which may be faulty.
Margaret Olele representing pharmaceutical companies said there is a need to empower patients by making them to know their rights and universal health coverage.