Africa launches initiative to improve access to medical diagnostics

The Africa CDC, in partnership with key stakeholders, has launched the Africa Collaborative Initiative to Advance Diagnostics (AFCAD) with the aim of accelerating access to diagnostics across the continent.

This initiative seeks to address crucial objectives, including promoting the local manufacturing of diagnostics, mapping and enhancing the capacity of diagnostic centres of excellence (the Africa Biobanking Network), facilitating the harmonisation of regulatory processes, and negotiating within the global market according to ACDC statement on its website on Wednesday.

It said the AFCAD required support for the regional and continental harmonisation of regulatory processes for medical devices, including in vitro Diagnostics (IVDs).

Recognising the need to bolster the capacity for regulating medical products in Africa, the AU Executive Council endorsed the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA). This agency is set to oversee the harmonisation of regulatory systems for medical products, such as medicines, vaccines, and medical devices, including IVDs, and contribute to increased access to medical countermeasures, the statement read

Africa CDC wrote that it was also providing support for the African Medical Device Forum (AMDF) programme through the AMRH (Africa Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation) programme to serve as centres of excellence for validating IVDs.

Disease control and prevention efforts
Dr Yenew Kebede, Head Division of Laboratory Systems at Africa CDC, emphasised the significance of quality assured IVDs in disease control and prevention efforts. The establishment of the DAC is seen as a milestone in the AFCAD initiative’s comprehensive strategies.

Among the next steps outlined by Africa CDC and AUDA NEPAD’s AMRH programme are the development of a list of diagnostics for priority diseases, the establishment of an African system for assessment and certification of IVDs, support for the registration of recommended diagnostics, and the creation of an enabling environment for local manufacturing of diagnostics in Africa.

About Africa CDC
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is a continental autonomous Public Health agency of the African Union that supports Member States in their efforts to strengthen health systems and improve surveillance, emergency response, prevention, and control of diseases.

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