Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE has deposited its instrument of ratification of the African Medicines Agency (AMA), becoming the 12th member State to fully embrace the regional pact that aspires to provide support for the improvement of weak regulatory systems.
The country ratified the Treaty for the establishment of AMA on 31 August 2021 in Harare, and deposited the instrument of accession, to the Commission of the African Union (AU) on 17 September 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to a Press statement issued by the Africa Union (AU) on Friday, Mr Sabelo Mbokazi, head of labour, employment and migration at the Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development Directorate, on behalf of the AU Commission, received the instrument from the Zimbabwe delegation.
The ratification and deposit of the instrument follows a high-level advocacy engagement between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Michel Sidibé, the AU Special Envoy for the AMA on 18 May, 2021 in Harare, said the AU.
Speaking during the official deposit, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the AU, Mr Taonga Mushayavanhu, said the ratification instrument deposit will add to the number of deposits required to meet the expected target of 15 deposits for the Treaty to come into force.
“The Republic of Zimbabwe is looking forward to the operationalisation of AMA and to contribute to the important role that the Agency will play in the standardisation and regulation of medicines and medical products in the continent,” he was quoted as saying.
The Agency’s main function will be to promote the use of quality assured, safe and efficacious medicines, medical products and medical technologies in Africa.
AMA will also monitor the medicines market through the collection of samples in every State party to ensure the quality of selected drugs, have them analysed and provide the results to State Parties and other interested parties, who will, thus, have reliable information on the quality of the drugs circulating in their countries and, where necessary, will take appropriate measures.
The AMA Treaty will enter into force 30 days upon the deposit of the 15th instrument of ratification at the Commission. Pending the deposit of the 15th instrument of ratification, the AU Commission has invited member states to submit proposals for the hosting of the AMA headquarters.
So far, 17 member States have ratified the AMA Treaty and only 12 of these have deposited the instruments of ratification to the Commission, said the continental bloc.
The Commission has also further extended the deadline for submission of interest to host the AMA up to 15th October 2021.
The Commission expects to have the establishment and operationalisation of the AMA in full progress in 2022.
“The AU Commission encourages all its member States to sign and ratify the Treaty for the establishment of AMA in the interest of public health, safety and security,” said AU.
The AMA treaty was adopted by Heads of States and Government during their 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly on 11 February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
It is expected to help build on the efforts of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation initiative of 2009, which is led by the Africa Union Development Agency — the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).
AMA will be the second specialized health agency of the African Union after the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).