, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – Kenya and South Africa have been elected co-chairs of the board of the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI).
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo will represent Kenya, alongside South Africa\’s Minister for Science and Technology Naledi Pandor.
The two were elected at the inaugural meeting hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"We consider ANDI as one of the most important initiatives in Africa in the implementation of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property," Mrs Mugo said in her initial address to the board.
She said that Kenya was committed to support ANDI in promoting and sustaining African-led health research to address the continent\’s health needs.
Co-chairperson Mrs Pandor remarked, "It is very exciting that in the past five years, African Ministers of Health and of Science and Technology have recognised that as Africa we\’re going to have to invest in providing solutions to our problems and challenges. I regard ANDI as a very important part of our continental response to Africa\’s challenges."
She continued: "I believe it\’s absolutely vital that through our own R&D (research and development), using our own intellectual resources, our institutions and by working successfully in partnership with Africans throughout the continent and in the Diaspora, we change the face of our continent and reduce the burden of disease."
UNECA Deputy Executive Secretary Jennifer Kargbo emphasised the importance of private sector participation in ANDI activities to translate them into useful products and services that benefit the people.
"ANDI\’s success should be measured in terms of numbers of lives saved and jobs created," she said.
The co-chair governance structure was created in recognition of the critical need to integrate public health research and policy with science and technology in order to develop a holistic approach to sustainably address Africa\’s health challenges through the discovery, development and delivery of drug, diagnostics, vaccines and other health products within Africa.
"We are very pleased with the strong support, commitment and leadership of the board as well as the significant achievements of this first board meeting," said Dr Solomon Nwaka, who presently leads the ANDI secretariat.
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