PAHO Reviewing Proposals For Regional Platform Initiative

PAHO Reviewing Proposals For Regional Platform Initiative

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is reviewing approximately 32 proposals from private and public-sector firms indicating their willingness to participate in the entity’s latest initiative, designed to bolster regional pharmaceutical production capacity.

PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, said that the outcome of these reviews is expected to be announced by September 30.

Speaking during PAHO’s recent COVID-19 digital briefing, Dr. Etienne said the Regional Platform Initiative, which was launched two weeks ago, is intended to reduce member countries’ and, by extension, the region’s dependence on imported medicines, vaccines, and medical supplies.

She said the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, and other partners have expressed their desire to help the region expand its pharmaceutical production capacity.

Dr. Etienne informed that the first programmed engagement under the initiative will focus on facilitating the technology transfer process relating to mRNA vaccine production for use against the coronavirus (COVID-19), being done in tandem with the World Health Organization (WHO).

mRNA vaccines are regarded among the most effective against COVID-19. The technology is highly adaptable and deemed to have enormous potential for use against other viruses.

Dr. Etienne emphasised that the initiative “is not a short-term response”, but rather part of a “long sustainable process to reduce dependency on imported medicines, vaccines and medical supplies in this region”.

She noted that since the pandemic’s onset, “it became evident how dependent we are on imported medical supplies, which cause shortages and jeopardises the [COVID-19] response [by] the countries”.

“We need to change this situation to be better prepared to respond to future emergencies and increase accessibility for our health systems,” the Director added.

Dr. Etienne said PAHO wants to have more of the medical outputs that can be produced under the initiative to be “genuine regional public health goods”, using the Strategic Fund for Medicines and the Revolving Fund for Vaccines, to benefit all Latin American and Caribbean countries.

“Against this background, we are in the process of identifying the most promising proposals, establishing a cooperative process that can take advantage of existing capacities in different countries, and ensuring that this production [thrust] can benefit all regional countries through PAHO’s Revolving Fund,” she added.

WRITTEN BY: DOUGLAS MCINTOSH
SOURCE: JIS news

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