31 October 2017

Africa: Malawi to Host High Level Africa Meeting On Health Technology Innovation Access

Photo: African Media Agency
Drones, initially developed for warfare, are being co-opted to provide revolutionary off-grid health-care to those who live in the most remote parts of the world (file photo).

Lilongwe — Malawi will from Wednesday host a three-day high level meeting on promoting policy coherence on health technology innovation and access for the African Regional intellectual Property Office (ARIPO).

The high level meeting brings together a range of leaders, policymakers and institutions including representatives from Ministry of Trade, Health and Justice; regional and intellectual property offices; regional economic communities; civil society; international experts and academic among others.

Briefing the press in Lilongwe on Monday, Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi said Malawi and many of the 18 Members States of the ARIPO have made great strides both in improving public health and by consequence, human development outcomes in recent years.

He said despite the significant progress, the burden of infectious diseases, particularly HIV, malaria and Tuberculosis pose a threat to public health.

"The coming meeting is extremely important especially as we try to achieve policy coherence with respect to access to medical drugs equipment and diagnostic for our people, specialty we deliver health services to our people," Muluzi explained.

He said the burden of the disease and infectious diseases in Africa it has been very high with regards to HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria which has rated the continent with 90 per cent of HIV related deaths in 2015, in Sub-Sahara Africa.

"The impact is real, the significant of this meeting is that as part of addressing issues of access to medicines, equipment and diagnostics, it is also important to recognize that we do receive support from various partners such as the Global Fund, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) with special vaccines.

"But with the countries that are beginning to transition in terms of economic development they will no longer be qualified for support under the Global Fund and GAVI, so we really think about the next steps," Muluzi pointed out .

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu said the meeting has come a time when countries around the world are pursuing various means to ensure availability and access to medicines for their citizens.

He said there is now wide recognition that access to health is a key part of achieving sustainable human development saying is well-acknowledged in the 2030 Agenda through Strategic Development Goal 3 and the target of Universal Health Coverage.

"This meeting is in recognition of a number of important global and regional developments related to the issues of public health, access to medicines and intellectual property rights.

"It aims at providing a forum for countries in the ARIPO Member States to exchange views on these developments and to share country experiences on best practices and strategies that promote availability and access to affordable health coverage," Tembenu added.

The High Level Meeting has been jointly-organised by the Malawi government and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).

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