March 15, 2023

IPOPI participates in Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC)

Rwanda, commonly referred to as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, recently hosted the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC). AHAIC is a biennial conference that brings together stakeholders from Africa and across the world to deliberate on key issues impacting healthcare in Africa.

This year’s theme was ‘Resilient Health Systems for Africa: Re-envisioning the Future Now’ and covered various topics including building climate change resilience, leveraging technology to amplify global health, unlocking the power of public health data, sustainable health financing among others. IPOPI Board Member, Cynthia Olotch, had the privilege of participating in a parallel session organised by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) titled “The Power of Regulatory Reliance to improve Patient Access and Deliver on the Promise of the African Medicines Agency”.

Regulatory reliance, as defined by the WHO, refers to a situation where a regulatory authority in one jurisdiction takes into account, and gives significant weight to, assessments performed by another regulatory authority or trusted institution, in reaching its own decision with respect to the regulation of medical products and technologies. The relying authority remains independent, responsible and accountable regarding the decisions taken, even when it relies on the decisions and information of others.

The use of regulatory reliance by the relevant regulatory authorities presents a number of benefits including the promotion of more efficient use of resources as it avoids duplication of efforts by regulatory authorities. In this regard, it frees up resources which can then be channelled towards activities that can only be undertaken locally.  In the long term, it could also lead to reduced inequalities across countries.

The IFPMA session aptly concluded by reiterating that patients stand to benefit from regulatory reliance practices as it accelerates access to safe and quality health technologies. IPOPI applauds IFPMA for including the patient voice in the discussions and looks forward to continued patient involvement in future AHAIC conferences.