As part of the flagship programme of the Growth and Transformation Plan, Ethiopia has launched a decade-long awaited National Strategy, Plan of Action for Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Development.

Speaking at the launching ceremony at Sheraton Addis Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said that during the first GTP period, the Ethiopian government has taken a number of steps to support, promote and develop the pharmaceutical industry which has paid off in improving the production capacity of local manufacturers.

The government shall continue its support through the provision of better but more coordinated result oriented incentives to increase the number of international researchers and manufactures with full requirements of the industries existing in contemporary world as well as appreciating locally available knowledge and practices of traditional medicine, he added.

According to the Deputy Premier, the objective of the National Strategy and Plan of Action is to transform the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector to internationally accredited, research based and competitive economic sector meeting the major share of the domestic demand and improving public access to essential medicines. It will also contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth and social development.

“Not only is the sector instrumental in improving access to essential medicines to ensure universal health coverage but it would also help the nation earn hard currency through exporting attractive foreign trade investment, job creation, advancement in research and human resource specialization as well as development,” Demeke said.

UN World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Margrate Chane on her part said that the UN specialized agency has been looking for ways and means to make sure that essential medicines are being manufactured based on the quality and price that people can afford.

She further said that promoting pharmaceutical industries development in developing countries is not an easy task. “We really need innovative solutions to make a big jump. Such an effort requires courage, vision and strong political commitment. We really need innovative solutions to make a big jump, as Ethiopia has shown us at present. This Strategy is important for Ethiopia to garner the benefits of modern technology but I have to convey the message that the Strategy should also be implemented in the continent under the umbrella of the African Union Pharmaceutical Plan for Action.”

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