United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) hosts the 5th African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, ANDI, Stakeholders Meeting. Ministers, senior government and UN agencies, representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), European Union (EU), ANDI Pan African Centres of Excellence, public and public R&D institutions, civil societies and other partners gathered in Nairobi today.
The three- day meeting under the theme ‘Partnerships and Financing for Transformative, Accessible and Sustainable Health Technologies in Africa’ is expected to actively engage participants through high-level ministerial round tables, launch of new partnerships, breakout and poster presentations.
In welcoming the participants, Dr. Tshinko Ilunga, Chair of ANDI said, “ANDI has achieved significant results, such as, initiation of the pan African Centers of Excellence, funding of concrete projects such as the development medical devices for maternal and child health in Malawi/Rice University, project based fellowship and entrepreneur programs, etc.”
“Supporting and brokering partnerships for scaling up and commercialization of local health technologies is the new strategic focus of ANDI in the next five years”, he added.
In his introduction to the Conference, the Executive Director of ANDI, Dr. Solomon Nwaka, outlined the achievement of ANDI to date as well as the challenges of health innovation in Africa. He stated that, “ANDI has created awareness globally on opportunities and challenges for health innovation in Africa and its work uncovered that capacity for health innovation exists in Africa. He stated that the outcome of a new landscape analysis conducted by ANDI shows that…“Africa represents a small subset in terms of innovation in which only 0.22% of patents are filled by African Innovators.” ‘This showcases the need to support the translational technologies emerging from African laboratories into products.’
Representatives of key stakeholders from regional and international organizations, including AUC/NEPAD, WHO, UNOPS, UNICEF, UNFPA, African Academy of Sciences, etc., acknowledged the work and achievements of ANDI, and promised to continue their partnerships with ANDI.
In his key note address on behalf of the Government of Kenya at the official opening of the meeting, Hon. James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health said, “The work of ANDI has the potential to impact the health of children, mothers, young and old across the continent and beyond.” He further stated In order to ensure ownership as a pan- African initiative, ANDI is establishing a subscription based membership that will be open to all African countries, ministries and institutions as well as development partners and foundations. “Kenya intends to subscribe and continue to support ANDI, and we encourage other African countries to join ANDI.” Hon. Macharia stated.
He also added that, “Kenya has put in place the necessary legal framework to actualize a commitment of 2% of the country’s GDP to Research and Development through the enactment of the Science, Technology and Innovation Act of 2013.”