On 4th September, 2020, SADC Secretariat, in partnership with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Afrexim bank, African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and African Union Special Envoy, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, convened a virtual meeting, to discuss the opportunities offered by the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) to SADC Member States. These include opportunities to procure items at reduced costs through pooled procurement mechanisms and by growing local manufacturing through procurement of locally produced goods.
The meeting provided insights about the structure and workings of the platform for SADC Member States Pharmaceutical Procurement Agencies, national medical products regulatory authorities, national bureau of standards agencies, private sector operators and other key stakeholders to access and leverage the benefits of the platform, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The African Medicine Supply Platform (AMSP) is a joint initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Centre for Disease Control, Afrexim bank and AU Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa. It was created to deal with the challenges and opportunities as result of COVID-19, with a view to promote access to safe and affordable quality medicines in Africa, through pooled procurement, as well as capacitating local production for improved health outcomes, in line with the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The platform was officially launched by His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union on June 18, 2020.
Delivering remarks on behalf of SADC Executive Secretary, Deputy Executive Secretary, Corporate Affairs, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice highlighted that the initiative came at the right time for SADC to propel the efforts towards pharmaceutical manufacturing; to provide an efficient, innovative and cutting edge system to eliminate procurement bottlenecks, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He commended the AUC, Africa CDC, UNECA and other partners who have worked tirelessly to set up the platform in order to increase the availability of COVID-19 supplies on the continent, as this will not only strengthen the resilience of health systems but also allow countries to access high quality supplies to protect the health of their citizens.
For her part, Namibia Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Esther Utjiua Muinjangue appreciated the establishment of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform as it will assist SADC countries to overcome supply challenges, and enhance access and delivery of needed essential quality medical supplies within the region on time.
She said, AMSP as a digital platform will serve as a consolidated online marketplace to facilitate the provision of COVID-19-related medical products, by addressing supply chain issues such as shortages, delays in distributing supplies, accessibility and affordability.
The Webinar was attended by Deputy Minister of Health Republic of Namibia, Dr. Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Cooperate affairs, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, Ms. Vera Songwe, Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; representative of the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC); representatives of the Private Sector; Senior Officials from SADC Member States and SADC Secretariat staff.