Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika says time is gone when Africa would place the lives of its people at the mercy of others observing the continent should invest heavily in research and innovation in order to create a healthier well-being for its people.
President Mutharika made the remarks when he presided over the official opening of the high-level meeting on promoting policy coherence on health technology innovation and access in the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) on Wednesday in Lilongwe.
The Malawi leader said it is the obligation of Africa and its leadership to create healthy continent whose populace is able to actively participate in development work for the progress of their nations.
“As Africa we must remember that nobody owes us a life and we owe our existence to nobody. As Africans we must not be afraid of innovations, as both innovation and civilization begun in Africa so let us build from there as we forge ahead,” said Professor Mutharika.
He further said times when African citizens were suffering because they could not afford Anti-retroviral Drugs (ARVs) should never return on the continent adding that all efforts should be made to ensure access to essential drugs in all developing countries.
“We must be diligent in supporting research and development of affordable vaccines and medicines for developing countries. This means we must actively support innovations of health technologies above all we need harmonized approaches.
“We must ensure that our policies are talking to each other even in the ARICO country member states, among government ministries, departments and agencies that they all promote health technologies and ensure access to affordable medicines in our nations,” he said.
The President said the main purpose of the gathering was to promote technologies that save lives which is the spirit that would save Africa as it promotes the availability of essential medicines.
“The future of our nations depends on having a healthy and productive citizen. Only healthy people can participate in development activities. We need to be healthy for us to be in a position to create wealth,” he said.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Florence Rolle thanked the Malawi government for co-hosting the meeting as it has clearly demonstrated its commitment in attaining a healthier national status in line with the development goals.
“There is still a long way to go before the universal health coverage target that member states committed to can be reached. It is encouraging to see regional blocks making efforts like this in their quest to achieve cheap access to health services for its people,” said Rolle.
Director General for ARICO Fernando Dos Santos said the platform would give chance to like-minded states to exchange notes to promote coherence in health innovations that would aid in the development of an IT system that is well balanced to promote lives of Africans.