The recently concluded 3rd
ANDI Stakeholders Meeting (11-13 October 2010, United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya) provided a forum for over 500 stakeholders from 40 countries to discuss progress made towards the implementation of the ANDI strategic business plan which is based upon findings from a situational analysis [7
]. Amongst other things, this key document outlines plans to develop a portfolio of high quality, pan-African health product R&D projects through direct funding and project management; provide support for a network of research centres of excellence as well as develop an IT platform for knowledge management in Africa. ANDI will also broker relationships with key stakeholders and funders through advocacy and the fostering of project partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Highlights of the Nairobi meeting included the inauguration of the ANDI Board, launch of the first call for projects and the launch of the ANDI R&D and Knowledge Management Databases. During the meeting a round-table session on traditional medicines brought together several experts who provided their perspectives with further insight from the audience. The goal of the discussion was to specifically address the opportunities and issues related to Traditional Medicines (TM) including plant-derived anti-malarials. These include:
• The need to better define the processes for R&D on Traditional Medicine (TM), including validating processes to ensure safety, efficacy and efficiency and developing a scientific rationale for each product.
• Need for policy and guidelines in the development of TM products in Africa
• Ethical and regulatory issues on TM
• Establishment of a holistic intellectual property management policy that will address the intellectual property issues arising from the use, development and commercialization of traditional medicines.
• Bridging the gap between TM practitioners and scientists.
• The role of TM in achieving MDGs in Africa.
These all point to the urgent need for a framework to provide the necessary support in addressing these needs. The report of the round table is being finalized for publication in due in course.