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ZaZiBoNa Celebrates 10 Years of Enhancing Access to Quality Medicines in Southern Africa

ZaZiBoNa, the collaborative medicines registration initiative in Southern Africa, marked its 10th anniversary with a commemorative seminar held in Cape Town on the 26th and 27th of October 2023.

The event brought together key stakeholders from the health sector, including founding and current Heads of Agencies, the SADC Secretariat, African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfARM), among others.

Founded in 2013 and endorsed by SADC Ministers of Health in 2014, ZaZiBoNa focuses on dossier assessments and good manufacturing practice inspections to ensure the availability and accessibility of high-quality, safe, and effective medicines in the region.

It operates under the umbrella of the SADC Medical Products Harmonisation initiative, facilitating joint assessments and inspections for pharmaceutical product registration.

Mr Johannes Gaeseb, Director of Tertiary Healthcare and Clinical Support Services at the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services and founding Head of Agency for Namibia, highlighted ZaZiBoNa’s role in enabling manufacturers to access SADC member states’ markets simultaneously, reducing entry costs and regulatory burdens. He emphasized the initiative’s contribution to reducing registration timelines and enhancing regulatory capacity.

Over the past decade, ZaZiBoNa has conducted 44 joint assessment sessions and assessed over 350 products, making it the most active regional harmonisation initiative in Africa.

Additionally, it has trained over 150 National Medicines Regulatory Authorities (NMRA) staff, enhancing their skills in assessment, inspection, and quality management.

The success of ZaZiBoNa’s 10-year milestone is attributed to the “Support Towards Industrialisation and the Productive Sectors (SIPS)” programme, co-funded by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Implemented by the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the SADC Secretariat, SIPS has been instrumental in supporting ZaZiBoNa’s efforts to enhance access to quality medicines in the region.

As ZaZiBoNa looks ahead, stakeholders are committed to building on its achievements and implementing a strategic plan from 2023 to 2027. The initiative remains dedicated to advancing healthcare and promoting regional integration through harmonised medicines regulation across SADC member states.

Additional source: SADC Secretariat

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