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17.01.2011 Kenya

Kenya and South African ministers co-Chair ANDI

By GNA
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January 17, 2011
Accra, Jan. 17, GNA - Two public officials in Africa have been elected to co-chair the Board of the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI).

The officials are the Minister of Public Health and Sanitation in Kenya, Mrs Beth Mugo, and Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa, Mrs Naledi Pandor.

A statement from the Africa Practice, a Communication company for ANDI, copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said they were elected at the inaugural meeting, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 11- January 12, 2011.

It said the innovative 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 sustainability.

It also aimed at addressing Africa's health challenges through the discovery, development and delivery of drugs, diagnostics, vaccines and other health products within Africa.

Board members representing North, South, East, West and Central African Regions, leading health experts, the African Diaspora and key institutional partners - UNECA (legal hosts for ANDI), World Health Organisation (WHO), and the African Development Bank discussed the strategic plans for ANDI.

The European Commission also provided support for the establishment of ANDI.

Speaking at the opening of the Board meeting, Ms Jennifer Kargbo, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNECA, stressed the importance of private sector participation in ANDI activities, especially in translating Research and Development outputs into useful products and services that benefited the people.

She emphasised that "ANDI's success should be measured in terms of numbers of lives saved, jobs created and firms created."

Ms Kargbo expressed delight that the Board had committed the political leadership and eminent experts needed in developing the pan-African health innovation network.

The statement said the value of establishing synergy between ANDI's agenda and those of the African Union (AU), NEPAD, Regional Economic Communities and interfacing with forums such as African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology was acknowledged in order to ensure the sustainability of its work in Africa.

It quoted Co-chair Mrs Mugo as saying that Kenya was committed to supporting ANDI in promoting and sustaining African-led health product innovation to address African health needs through the assembly of research networks and the building of capacity.

She recalled Kenya's joint sponsorship with Brazil of the World Health Assembly Resolution on the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property.

Mrs Mugo noted: "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."

ANDI Co-chair Mrs Pandor said: "It is very exciting that in the past five years, African Ministers of Health and of Science and Technology have recognised that as Africans 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."

Dr Maged Al-Sherbiny, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Egypt, and representatives from the Nigerian Ministry of Health reiterated their support for the establishment of the network regional hubs.

ANDI Vice-Chair Dr Tshinko Ilunga called on the Board to act as ambassadors for ANDI and paid tribute to the high level political leadership and cross-sector support demonstrated for the initiative to date.

"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, which is now being transitioned from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, to UNECA.

The ANDI concept was launched at a meeting of stakeholders in Abuja in 2008 and adopted a strategic business plan that was developed with support by the World Health Organisation through TDR, (an organisation that deals with research on diseases of poverty) a number of African institutions, researchers and McKinsey Associates.

GNA

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