UN Backed Conference Calls for Increase in Drug Research and Access to Help Africans.

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Governments need to increase their support for drug research that will lead to
new accessible drugs and vaccines in Africa, a United Nations-backed conference
in Ethiopia heard this week.

Some 500 participants from Africa’s health-care industry, pharmaceuticals, and
health ministers made strong calls for increasing clinical research to improve
drugs and their availability in the continent at the African Network for Drugs
and Innovation (ANDI) conference, currently being held in Addis Ababa.

The three-day conference, which will conclude tomorrow, is an effort to increase
collaboration in Africa’s health sector, and according to a news release issued
by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), it is hoping that the outcomes
shared can bolster more funding and support from African governments.

“There are serious fears that Africa may not meet some of the health-related
targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” said Jennifer Kargbo, Deputy
Executive Secretary of the ECA, referring to the eight internationally-agreed
goals that seek to slash poverty, hunger, lack of access to health care and
education, and a host of other ills, all by 2015.

In her remarks to the conference, delivered by ECA Executive Secretary Abdoulie
Janneh, Ms. Kargbo said ANDI is seen as one of the means to achieve the MDGs
through the promotion of regional integration and economic growth, as well as
strengthening the continent’s capacity and knowledge in the health sector.

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