The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has put together a ?1 million project to support local production of essential generic medicines in Ghana and Kenya.

The project begins January 2013 and is funded by the German government, UNIDO announced in a statement November 21, 2012.

According to UNIDO, the new funding is expected to accelerate the implementation of the African Union?s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), a joint endeavor with the African Union Commission.

A top official at the UN body indicated that unsatisfactory access to essential drugs is a key limitation that has had an impact on the health of the populations in a range of countries in Africa.

?Local manufacturers in developing countries could be a source of assured quality drugs, especially for the poor. Certified local production is also a way to combat counterfeit drugs, which endanger human lives,? said Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO Director-General.

The project, will in the future be expanded to other African countries such as Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, UNIDO indicated.

Since 2006, Germany, which is a key partner of UNIDO, has contributed over ?80 million to develop the African pharmaceutical industry, the statement noted.

By Ekow Quandzie

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