The East African Community (EAC) announced Tuesday that it will receive $9.5m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to fund a project on the harmonization of registration of medicines in all five member states.
Andreas Seiter, a World Bank Senior Health Specialist, revealed this during a joint meeting of the EAC, World Bank, NEPAD, WHO and GTZ, held at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The meeting was convened to work out modalities of a harmonized regime for registration of medicines in the EAC.
“I believe early next year, the review of the proposal of the project on Medicines Registration Harmonization will be done, and at that time, the Gates Foundation through World Bank Trust Fund, will be in a position give out a grant of 9.5 million dollars to EAC,” Seiter said.
The project, expected to commence in 2011, is estimated to cost approximately $10 million. National and internationally recognized policies and standards on ‘Medicine Registration Harmonization’ in the bloc are targeted to be implemented between three and five years.
As part of regional cooperation on health, EAC partner states have initiated the process of harmonization of the manufacture, import, trade, sale and export of all medicine and health supplies in the region through the legal mandate of the existing National Medicines Regulatory Authorities (NMRAs) in each of the partner states.
The bloc acknowledges that there is a need to institutionalize and fast track the harmonization of regulations in order to fully realize the benefits of the growing pharmaceutical industry in the region and also ensure easy access to affordable, safe and quality essential medicines and health supplies for both local use and export to international markets.