‘This meeting gives me hope that we can build a solid movement across Eastern and Southern Africa to tackle intellectual property rights barriers. We need to take advantage of the TRIPS flexibilities in order to promote local manufacturing and ensure access to medicines for all and we can only do this by learning from each other across the region.’ Patricia Asero.
These were the reflections of Patricia Asero, Vice-Chair of International Community of Women Living with HIV, Kenya, after a two-day regional forum in Entebbe (5-7 Nov 2018) on harnessing the TRIPS flexibilities to promote access to medicine.
The joint forum was a collaborative effort between KELIN, CEHURD, SAPAM and ARASA and a strategic partnership with OXFAM.
The symposium served to build the foundations of an African Access to Medicines Movement. Discussions included finding pathways for civil society to engage meaningfully in domestic and regional processes and structures such as the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the African Medicines Agency.
Preliminary findings from ongoing research focusing on Kenya, Uganda and the East African Community reveals that a lot more needs to be done for in order for countries to utilise the TRIPS flexibilities and ensure sustainable access to medicines.