Nairobi, Kenya (PRWEB) December 03, 2015
The 5th Stakeholders meeting of the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) concludes with excitement about the new strategic direction of ANDI, announcement of the winners of the 2015 ANDI Innovation Awards and new Centres of Excellence (CoEs).
The new strategic plan of ANDI (2016 - 2020) focuses on the identification and facilitation of partnerships for the development, scale up and market access to local health technologies that can transform health care delivery in Africa.
“Potential life saving health tools are languishing in African laboratories due to lack of a clear progression pathway and financing challenges,” remarked Solomon Nwaka, Executive Director of ANDI who convened the meeting. “Facilitating the progression of such technologies that address maternal and child health, nutrition as well as specific diseases that are prevalent in Africa and capacity building will be the primary focus of ANDI in the next five years,” he added.
Seven African institutions that embody the ANDI vision were granted the prestigious ANDI Innovation Awards, for their work that range from the development and evaluation of local medical devices for child health by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Malawi and Rice University, U.S.A; to the development of a novel diagnostic kit for Schistosomiasis by the Theodor Bilharz Institute, Egypt and radio labeling reagents by iThemba labs in South Africa. Other works recognized are: the development and manufacture of diagnostic kits for infectious diseases and cancer at the Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation and Research and at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), as well as cutting edge work on new antimalarial drug at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Nigeria for its work on sickle cell disease.
In her acceptance speech, Elizabeth Molyneaux, – a Pediatrician and the head of the ANDI supported project in Malawi said, “I have worked for the Malawi government health service for over 30 years. In that period, we have received many donations of medical equipment, all designed for a dust free and power - protected environment, often requiring expensive spare parts. Our hospital workshop is filled with unusable items. What we needed were inexpensive, reliable, robust, repairable equipment preferably made locally. In collaboration with Rice University, ANDI and other partners, we developed and did clinical trials on the Pumani machine which helps babies especially premature ones – breathe. At least one machine is now available in every district hospital in Malawi and plans are in hand to extend this to other hospitals. Also, a phototherapy unit called Babylights used for treatment of jaundice innewborn babies was first prototyped at Rice University but modified and produced in the Malawi Polytechnic with ANDI funding. The next step is the identification of an industrial partner to support further improvement, scale up and commercialization of the instrument.”
ANDI also recognized 5 new CoEs, from Morocco, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa and Burkina Faso which now brings the total number of CoEs identified by ANDI to date to 43.
Furthermore, three significant global partnerships with ANDI were launched at the meeting: i) the World Health Assembly demonstration project on development and manufacture of diagnostics for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries which is being implemented by ANDI in collaboration with Chinese and African partners, ii) Emory University and ANDI partnership on capacity building for technology management and development of a sustainable resource centre to support technology progression in Africa, and iii) Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, and ANDI partnership that support project based training, business development, entrepreneurship and management of intellectual property in Africa.
The mission of ANDI is to promote and sustain African-led health innovation to address the continent’s health needs through the assembly of collaborative networks, and building of capacity to support public health and development. ANDI focuses on addressing Africa’s 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 is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). The ANDI approach is at the heart of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals which the world is now focusing on. It is also relevant to the AU 2063 Agenda.