Transforming Healthcare Technology in Africa: 50 Health Experts Gather in Addis Ababa to Prioritize Mechanisms That Will Enable Sustained Health Innovation in Africa
Experts highlight the critical leadership role of ANDI in African health innovation; proposing the establishment of a sustainable financing mechanism to support local technology development, capacity building and Ebola R&D
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), January 23, 2015 – The African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI), in partnership with UNICEF and others, convened a major Experts Consultation conference this week in Addis Ababa, gathering over 50 Health Experts working in Africa and overseas.
High impact technologies that can transform healthcare delivery were prioritized at the conference. In particular, seminal African discoveries on Ebola Virus with potential for diagnostics and therapeutics were presented and discussed. These programmes require the establishment of a sustainable Health Technology Fund to support their development.
This new African-based fund, equipped with grant making and social venture arms to support the initiative, would ensure development, implementation and commercialization of technologies emanating from African Centres of Excellence and other sources. It will also support partnership building, the operationalization of the African regulatory harmonization activities, and promote local research into Ebola and other emergent infectious diseases. Establishment of incubators for innovation and engagement with the private sector will be pivotal for realizing this ambition.
This proposal comes as the Heads of State of the African Union (AU) start their annual meeting in Addis Ababa this week, to discuss Ebola and health system strengthening in Africa among other key issues.
The meeting was attended by heads of leading African institutions, the African Union Commission (AUC), financial institutions, the World Bank, other international and multilateral organizations. Donors, multinational technology companies, entrepreneurs and NGOs were also represented.
The Experts in attendance highlighted the leadership role ANDI is demonstrating on innovation issues in Africa, and recommended that ANDI work closely with AUC in the implementation and promotion of health innovation by Africans within Africa.
“This 3-day conference has been extraordinary,” said Dr Solomon Nwaka, the Executive Director of ANDI, who orchestrated the event. “The technologies discussed at this meeting demonstrate the health innovation potential existing within the African continent. With the establishment of the right enablers such as a sustainable financing mechanism, African R&D institutions and entrepreneurs will be able to collaborate in order to solve the health challenges of the continent and contribute to development.”
The Vice-Chair of ANDI Board, Dr Tshinko Ilunga, thanked the experts for their contribution, stating: “The current Ebola outbreak is a stark reminder of the pressing need to strengthen local health and innovation systems in Africa.”
The African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) was launched as a concept in Abuja (Nigeria) in 2008. ANDI mission is to promote and sustain African-led health innovation to address African public health needs through efficient use of local knowledge, assembly of research networks, and building of capacity to support development. ANDI focuses on addressing Africa’s unmet health needs by harnessing the untapped power of collaboration among African researchers as well as equitable North-South and South-South partnerships, with the vision of creating a sustainable platform for health innovation in Africa. ANDI was initially incubated by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) at the World Health Organization (WHO) and is now hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). We thank the European Commission, WHO/TDR, African Development Bank, Nigeria for their financial support.
Chloé Coves, Communications and External Relations Manager
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