Tanzania: Health Sector Makes Headway

Kilimanjaro — The government is making major headways in improving the health sector-key to human development after the launch of the new level three state-of-the-art public laboratory at Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital in Siha District, Kilimanjaro Region.

Inaugurated by Vice-President Philip Mpango, the facility will play a crucial role in curbing spread of infectious diseases in the country, and thus, improve the economy and wellbeing of the people.

Installation of the facility is part of strategies by the government of Tanzania to improve health care in the country through the Third Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III) spanning between 2021/2022 and 2025/2026.

The plan is being implemented under a theme; “Realising Competitiveness and Industrialisation for Human Development.”

In implementing the FYDP III, the government seeks to strengthen health management systems, service availability and delivery by improving infrastructures, professionals, medical equipment and supplies, reagents, medicines, curative and preventive care, and health insurance in the realm.

FYDP III also prioritises the resolution of quality challenges in health service and this is what the government seeks to achieve after undertaking major upgrade at the Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The laboratory in question is used to study infectious agents or toxins that may be transmitted through the air and cause potentially lethal infections. Researchers perform all experiments in a biosafety cabinet.

Speaking before Dr Mpango, the government’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Prof Abel Makubi, elaborated that the laboratory was constructed in two phases at a total cost of 12.5bn/-.

According to Prof Makubi, the facility will provide services such as diagnosis and follow-up on detection of infectious and epidemic diseases which have been outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In addition, the new lab will be used to make close follow-up of bacteria which have been resistant to drugs being used to treat various diseases and determine the quantity of drugs in the human body.

Prof Makubi elaborated that the facility will be used for research purposes and innovation on medical science in prevention of infectious and epidemic diseases through invention of new medicines, reagents, medical equipment and vaccines.

“The other importance of the laboratory is storage of bacteria of various diseases and their genetics, which will be used for training of diagnostic investigations and innovation for medical experts,” he explained.

With the above-mentioned functions, Prof Makubi was highly upbeat that the new facility will improve health services and reduce costs, which have been incurred by the government for transporting samples abroad for diagnosis.

The CMO stated that the idea to procure and install the new laboratory dates back to the year 2016, when the Ministry of Health prepared a proposal for establishment of the facility at the Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital.

Prof Makubi said the project was among others intended to upgrade the Kilimanjaro-based health facility from a national referral hospital for Tuberculosis (TB) to national hospital for specialised diagnosis and treatment of all infectious diseases.

The health facility was formerly known as Kibong’oto National Tuberculosis (TB) Hospital. It was established in 1926 as a TB sanatorium.

During implementation of the FYDP II plan, the number of health facilities in the country has increased from 7,014 in 2015 to 8,783 in December 2020.

The government constructed 1,198 new Dispensaries, 487 Health Centres, 99 District Council Hospitals and 10 Referral Hospitals in Geita, Katavi, Simiyu, Njombe, Songwe and Mwanza in addition to Shinyanga, Singida, Manyara, Arusha and Mara regions.

Through the plan, the government is as well constructing three Zonal Referral Hospitals namely the Southern Highlands Zone Referral hospital in Mbeya, Southern Zone Referral Hospital in Mtwara and Lake Zone Referral Hospital in Geita.

The government has also completed rehabilitation of ward number 18 (Sewa Haji) and construction of wards for private patients at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam.

Construction of emergency services building and renovation of X-Ray building at Dodoma Referral Hospital has also been completed, and work for Uhuru Hospital in Dodoma has reached 98.2 per cent.

Through the said interventions, performance of key health indicators such as maternal mortality, neo-natal mortality and under-five mortality have been declining at an encouraging rate.

Under-five mortality rate has declined from 67 per 1,000 live births in 2015/16 to 50 per 1,000 live births in 2019/20.

Tanzania has continued to be one of the leading countries in Africa in vaccinating children under one year. In 2019/20, 98 per cent of all children under-one-year-old were vaccinated compared to 82 per cent in 2015/16, thus exceeding the 90 per cent target set by WHO.

Also, during 2019/20, 81 per cent of all pregnant women made four or more visits at antenatal clinics compared to 39 per cent in 2015/16 implying that more pregnant women receive quality care and advice on safe birth control methods.

The number of pregnant women giving birth at health facilities increased from 64 per cent in 2015/16 to 83 per cent in 2019/2020.

Kenya: Kitui Referral Hospital Gets First Oxygen Plant Project

Kitui — The Kitui referral hospital has received a boost after it was handed the first Oxygen Plant Project at a cost of USD 200,000.

The project is funded by the State Government’s collaboration with Climate Investor One and Climate Investor Two financing facilities, under the management of Climate Fund Managers, and with local development partner Epicentre Africa Engineering.

“We are extremely excited at the completion and launch of this oxygen plant. This milestone represents a significant boost in capacity within the County and will make a real difference to the clinical outcomes achieved for any residents of Kitui County who become seriously ill because of the pandemic but also during any future medical crises,” said Ngilu.

A cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Health, Kitui County and Epicentre Africa Engineering helped to procure and install the oxygen generating plant and the piping to the Isolation wards at the Kitui County Referral Hospital, sponsored by the two Climate Investor facilities.

The onsite Medical Oxygen Generating Plant Equipment has been successfully installed and commissioned.

The plant was selected for its ease of use, high reliability and minimal maintenance while being EU Area Certified (CE endorsed) and manufactured by reputable equipment manufacturers.

Earlier this month, the operation staff were trained by Pulse Medical under the project management of Epicenter Africa Engineering.

Through the installation of the AS-J-600HM plant, the hospital now has a new capability to generate 300 L per minute of oxygen piped directly to the Isolation Wards, thereby reducing the reliance on manual feeds from oxygen tanks which are in short supply.

The project is designed to enhance comprehensive COVID-19 clinical care onsite and reduce the need to transfer patients requiring oxygenation to Nairobi Hospital.

“Healthy communities are a vital component of a sustainable future for humanity and the planet. While Climate Investor One and Two focus primarily on the construction and operations of climate-friendly infrastructure such as wind farms, solar parks, water supply and treatment plants such as, such as Solar Water Springs, the support of local and national authorities and governments in their role of enabling the communities they serve is a role we are immensely proud to be involved in. Specifically, we applaud the leadership shown by the Government of Kenya during an exceedingly difficult covid period as well as the proactive action of Kitui County. We are proud to consider ourselves a partner of both, ” said Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers, Climate Investor One and Two Manager.

The delivery of this plant demonstrates Kitui County’s commitment to the health and welfare of the people of Kitui and the respect with which major international investors hold Kitui County. This equipment has the potential to save lives for many years.

During the event, Epicentre Africa Engineering CEO Mary Njue said: “Epicentre Africa Engineering has been deeply concerned about the effects of the pandemic on the local community in the region of Kitui. We are grateful to have this opportunity to help lessen its negative impact. We are confident that through collaboration with the Climate Investor facilities, and the Kitui County, we can deliver meaningful, sustainable solutions to health challenges, including in other areas such as clean water.”

Moderna taps Kenya as site for $500M mRNA manufacturing facility

Moderna tapped Kenya as the country for its $500 million mRNA vaccine manufacturing push on the African continent.

The drugmaker said it inked a memorandum of understanding with Kenyan officials to build a state-of-the-art mRNA facility, which was first announced in October 2021. The site will focus on producing up to 500 million vaccine doses a year. The company said the plant will benefit all of Africa and in the future could be expanded to include fill-finish and packaging capabilities at the site.

Additionally, Moderna said it is working toward getting the plant built and operational to fill doses of its COVID-19 vaccines in Africa by 2023 depending on demand for the shots.

The exact location and square footage of the proposed manufacturing plant within Kenya weren’t disclosed.

“With our mRNA global public health vaccine program, including our vaccine programs against HIV and Nipah, and with this partnership with the Republic of Kenya, the African Union and the U.S. government, we believe that this step will become one of many on a journey to ensure sustainable access to transformative mRNA innovation on the African continent and positively impact public health,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief excecutive, said in a statement.

Ethiopia Calls Chinese to Increase Investment in Health, Pharmaceutical Sector

Ethiopian Embassy in Beijing, in collaboration with Beijing Beimao Jingyuan Health consulting Inc., organized a forum promoting trade and investment in the Medical, Health, and Pharmaceutical sector.

More than 40 companies in the sector, representatives from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Investment Commission, and partner institutions were in attendance in the virtually and physically held forum.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the Republic of China, Teshome Toga, noted the importance of the health investment forum at this critical time.

Despite the effects of Covid-19 on the global economy, “FDI in Ethiopia in the past nine months registered growth by 18.33 % in 2022 compared to the same period last year,” he said adding that the growth showed increment from 2.05 billion USD in 2021 to 2.43 billion USD in 2022.

The fact that 2/3 of all the Chinese firms in Ethiopia are engaged in the manufacturing sector is a testimony of the enduring confidence of investors in the Ethiopian market and potential, he underlined.

Assuring the priority given by the government to the sector, Ambassador Teshome affirmed that “the health and medical sector in Ethiopia is the priority of the government of Ethiopia as laid out in its 10-year development plan that aims to increase its local production capacity.”

The Director-General of the Middle East, Asia, and Pacific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E Ambassador Gebeyehu Ganga (Ph.D.), on his part, briefed the strategic China-Ethiopia ties and the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

Infrastructure development, investment, and bilateral trade cooperation have been growing since the two countries started diplomatic relationships 50 years ago, he said.

Mentioning the vast potential in the Medical, Health, and Pharmaceutical sector, he indicated local production only covers 5% of the demand from the sector, which gives investors a wide opportunity to engage in the sector.

Ambassador Gebeyehu reiterated the enabling environment created in Ethiopia for foreign investors and re-assured the government’s commitment to helping the Chinese Investors, given the strategic partnership and cooperation between Ethiopia and China.

The CEO of Beijing Beimao Jingyuan Health Consulting Inc., Mrs. Shi Lili, remarked that Ethiopia as a member of the African Union and the seat of its headquarters provides a huge potential for partnership, including in the health and medical services.

Mentioning the long-standing friendship and the increasing volume of trade between the two countries, she noted that China has become Ethiopia’s largest trade partner.

She also recalled the joint trade and investment cooperation agreements signed between the two countries, including the Belt and Road initiative, as an opportunity to expand trade and investment ties.

The forum also included presentations from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian food and drug Authority, Chinese Medical companies, and the Ethiopian Investment Commission, among others.

Kenyan medical firm receives Sh339 million boost

Kenyan firm joins global manufacturers of syringes and key medical supplies

• Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte Ltd (AAIC) and Ohara Pharmaceutical Company Ltd have jointly invested USD3 million into Revital Healthcare.

•The Kilifi-based manufacturer is one of 25 auto-disable syringe manufacturers pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the only one in Africa.

Kilifi-based medical supply manufacturer, Revital Healthcare EPZ Ltd, has received a further injection of capital from two Japanese firms that will boost its production capacity.

Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte Ltd (AAIC) and Ohara Pharmaceutical Company Ltd have jointly invested USD3 million (approximately Sh339 million) into Revital Healthcare.

This will see means the Kilifi-based manufacturer, one of 25 auto-disable syringe manufacturers pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the only one in Africa enhance its production capacity from 75 million syringes to more than 400 million annually.

This follows another investment of Sh440 million into the firm from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which the firm’s sales, marketing and product development director Roneek Vora said will boost production to at least 300 million syringes a year from 2022.

Revital estimates that the support will lead to the creation of over 100 direct new jobs and over 5,000 indirect jobs out of which Revital has committed to ensuring that at least 50 per cent of new hires are women.

Global demand for auto-disable syringes has grown greatly as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines progresses globally. Recent estimates from PATH, a global non-profit organisation improving public health, projecst that there will be a shortage of over 2.2 billion units of the 0.5ml vaccine syringes in 2022.

This will acutely impact the Covid-19 vaccination drive, child immunisation along with inoculation of the new malaria vaccines, in low and middle-income countries, especially across Africa.

Currently, Revital manufactures 45 essential medical disposables ranging from syringes, Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits for Covid and Malaria, PPE kits, surgical face mask and viral transport medium kits. The investment comes at a time when the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is fast spreading across the globe, prompting countries to re-introduce drastic measures like lockdowns to try and contain infection.

“Expanding manufacturing capacity in Africa for critical supplies such as syringes is essential to ensure adequate supply for the continent,” said Vora in a statement. He said the firm is proud to be part of the global efforts to ensure Africans have access to life-saving vaccination syringes.

Revital Healthcare chairman Rajni Vora said with the investment from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AAIC and Ohara Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer intends to expand into the diagnostics line, laboratory consumables and other more essential medical supplies.

Marksans Pharma acquires Dubai-based Access Healthcare for Rs 27 cr.

Marksans Pharma signed a share purchase agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Access Healthcare for Medical Products L.L.C, a Dubai-based front-marketing and promotion company for a cash consideration of AED 13 million.

This transaction was approved by the board of Marksans Pharma on 23 April 2022. The acquisition is expected to be completed by 30 June 2022. Access Healthcare for Medical Products (Access Healthcare) provides pharmaceutical companies innovative marketing and sales solutions in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region. The company supplies these products in the UAE and other neighboring countries.

In the UAE market, Marksans Pharma supplied products through the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). It has market authorizations by the UAE regulatory authorities for various products. For the year ended December 2021, Access Healthcare for Medical Products registered a revenue of AED 12 million (Rs 25 crore) and a profit after tax ofAED 4.5 million (Rs 9.40 crore). The company has no debt on its books.

As per the company’s press release, this deal will enable the company to use the front-end sales and marketing infrastructure of Access Healthcare for marketing its products manufactured in the India, UK, and USA regions. It will bolster Marksans Pharma’s presence in the Middle East and North African regions by leveraging Access Health’s knowledge of local business cultures and access to a network of partners and distributors in those regions.

The shareholders of Access Healthcare will receive a cash consideration of AED 13 million (Rs 27.10 crore) on closure of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals. The transaction will be funded from internal accruals, as per the company’s exchange filing.

On a consolidated basis, the company reported a 18.1% fall in net profit to Rs 48.27 crore on a 1.2% rise in net sales to Rs 362.63 crore in Q3 FY22 over Q3 FY21.

Shares of Marksans Pharma shed 1.97% to Rs 54.70 on BSE. Marksans Pharma is an Indian pharmaceutical company having a global footprint. The company’s strengths lie in research, manufacturing and marketing of finished dosage pharmaceutical formulations.

Ethiopia: Potential to capitalise on demand for affordable pharmaceuticals

According to a research, there are opportunities to produce specific pharmaceutical items in Ethiopia, a market that is now dominated by imports.

By 2025, Ethiopia’s domestic pharmaceutical business may be valued more than $1 billion. A increasing middle-income base and urbanisation at a rate of 5.4 percent per year are predicted to fuel growth, resulting in improved access to healthcare as cities improve their infrastructure and healthcare facilities.

Imports contribute for 65 percent to 75 percent of the Ethiopian pharmaceutical market, with India (22 percent), the Netherlands (20 percent), and Belgium accounting for the majority of the rest (13 percent ). Finished pharmaceutical items account for the majority of imports, accounting for over 80% of all pharmaceutical products imported in 2019. The following are some of the most important products imported into Ethiopia:

60% – anti-infectives
9% – central nervous system medicines
8% – water and acid base electrolytes
5% – endocrine disorder and contraceptives

The Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Supply Agency (EPSA) is the country’s single most influential buyer, accounting for 60% of overall pharma spending. Antivirals and antibacterials are common purchases in the public and social sectors.

There are just 11 manufacturers in the country, 45 percent of which are jointly held by international and local investors. With two joint ventures and one fully-owned enterprise, China is becoming a major player in Ethiopia’s pharmaceutical industry.

Ethiopia’s government has taken a number of steps to enhance the sector. It has devised a 10-year pharmaceutical production strategy and action plan. Kilinto Park is Africa’s first dedicated industrial park, spanning 279 hectares and dedicated to pharmaceutical manufacture on 136 hectares. The park is 15 kilometres from the city centre of Addis Ababa, 863 kilometres from the port of Djibouti, and a 10-minute drive from Bole International Airport. Investors are given serviced or ready-to-use land with shared infrastructure and services, allowing them to get started quickly.

Henlius Partners with Getz to commercialize Adalimumab Biosimilar

Shanghai Henlius Biotech has established a partnership with Getz Pharma Limited to commercialise Handayuan (HLX03), an adalimumab biosimilar, in numerous Asian and African countries.

Getz Pharma will be able to market the product in Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, as well as any other territories mutually agreed upon, under the terms of the licencing and supply agreement.

Henlius’ first monoclonal antibody for autoimmune therapy, HLX03, was self-developed. The biosimilar is based on Humira, which had sales of $20.7 billion in 2021, making it the highest-grossing medication in the world that wasn’t a COVID-19 vaccination. Humira has been approved for more than ten indications around the world, and it is a recommended medicine in North American and European autoimmune disease management recommendations.

The National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China has approved HLX03 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, uveitis, and plaque psoriasis. Jiangsu Wanbang is in charge of HLX03’s marketing in China.

“In the future, Henlius will actively collaborate with more global industry leaders, maximising the value of biosimilars and accelerating diversified innovation to develop more products based on clinical and market needs to deliver more affordable products to patients worldwide,” Henius said in a statement.

Over 100 million euros will be invested by the EU and the Gates Foundation to establish an African drug regulator

According to Reuters, the European Union and the Gates Foundation are due to announce financial assistance for fledgling plans to establish an African medicines regulator to enhance the continent’s drug and vaccine production.

The African Medicines Institution (AMA) treaty entered into force in November, although the agency is now only operational on paper. The treaty establishing the AMA has been ratified by just over half of the 55 African Union (AU) member nations so far.

The provision of financial and technical assistance to the new agency is considered as critical in assisting it in launching operations. This would help the continent’s vaccine and pharma industries, which relies on a reliable regulator to thrive.

A person familiar with the initiative told Reuters that the European Commission, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Gates Foundation will pay more than 100 million euros ($113.93 million) to support AMA and African national regulatory authorities.

The goal is for these organizations to reach Maturity Level 3 for vaccine manufacturing, which the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as “the minimum WHO standard for effective regulatory monitoring for quality local vaccine production,” according to the official.

According to an internal EU Commission paper with slides seen by Reuters, a portion of the funds will be distributed as grants, with the remainder going to the European Medicines Agency.

According to the statement, the EMA, which is now Africa’s only drug regulator, will “offer technical help to African counterparts via scientific collaboration, joint inspections, training, and notably the AMA.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, asked African countries to support efforts to establish the regulator, saying it may aid in the fight against counterfeit and low-quality medications.

“I believe this institution will be extremely essential for the continent,” says the author “In Cape Town, he stated. “I’d like to (appeal) to all non-ratifying countries to ratify and expedite the creation (of AMA).”

Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said the AMA could play “the kind of role that the European Medicines Agency has played in Europe — defining standards, helping countries develop their regulatory bodies” at a previous occasion.


After the COVID-19 epidemic exposed the region’s reliance on imported vaccinations and other drugs, the race to establish the AMA has begun. Local production accounts for just over 5% of medications and 1% of vaccines consumed by the 1.2 billion-strong population.

Africa initially struggled to obtain COVID-19 vaccine shots due to limited supply being purchased by wealthy countries. Deliveries to Africa have since increased, yet only 10% of Africans are properly vaccinated.

Increased production is currently being pursued, however medicine approval requires the approval of a regulator.

Experts warn that preparing for future pandemics is simply one of the reasons why Africa needs a continental regulator.

Due to inconsistent legislation in 54 countries and a lack of transparency, several pharmaceutical companies have abandoned efforts to register their goods, resulting in limited access to vital medicines in many African countries.

Due to a lack of strict control, counterfeit pharmaceuticals have flooded African markets, resulting in unnecessary deaths and fueling scepticism of medicine.

According to EU officials in Brussels, the EU’s attempt to back the new regulator is part of a larger strategy to counter Chinese and Russian influence in Africa. In the last year, Brussels has provided hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccination to Africa.

Vaccine access will also be a major topic at a Brussels conference of EU and African Union leaders.

Margaret Agama-Anyetei, a senior AU official leading efforts to establish the AMA, stated that obtaining more AU member states to sign and ratify the treaty is one of the most pressing tasks.

“There are a plethora of fake certificates, fake drugs, fake masks, and fake medicine across the continent,” she told Reuters by phone from Addis Ababa. “It’s really important that we have a continental agency that is complementary to all other national health institutions and invested in promoting the regulation of medical products across the continent,” she said.

WHO has identified 6 African countries that will receive technology for the production of mRNA vaccines

Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia will be the first six African countries to get the technologies needed to manufacture Moderna vaccines, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“At today’s European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed the first six African countries to get the technology required to create mRNA vaccines. Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia all applied and were chosen as recipients,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General, revealed the first six African countries to get the technology needed to create mRNA vaccines. Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia all applied and were chosen as recipients, according to the World Health Organization.

According to the World Health Organization, the Moderna technology hub will assist vaccine makers by providing access to the essential operating procedures and know-how to mass-produce vaccines in compliance with international standards. The centre will also increase production capacity for other medical supplies that countries require to build their health systems, in addition to COVID-19 vaccines.

“The best way to address health emergencies and achieve universal health coverage in the mid- to long-term is to significantly increase the capacity of all regions to manufacture the health products they need, with equitable access as their primary endpoint,” said WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said: “This is a project that would allow us to create our own vaccines, which is really essential to us. It entails mutual respect, acknowledgement of what we can all bring to the table, investments in our economies and infrastructure, and, in many ways, giving back to the continent.”

According to the announcement, the WHO and its African and European partners will work with the beneficiaries to build a plan and provide the necessary training and support so that the nations may begin vaccine manufacturing soon.

Despite the fact that COVID-19 vaccine supplies in Africa have expanded dramatically in recent months, immunisation rates on the continent remain quite low, with only roughly 11% of the population fully immunised.