Seven African leaders are in Lome, capital of Togo, as a summit against fake drugs kicked off on Friday (January 17). The two-day summit is under the aegis of the Brazzaville Foundation.
It is the first time African heads of state are gathering on the issue of fake drugs on the continent which continues to plague especially sub-Saharan Africa. Discussions at the political and health level are on the agenda to build a reliable strategy.
President Faure Gnassingbe is hosting colleagues such as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou, Macky Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Adama Barrow from The Gambia.
The Togolese described the phenomenon of fake drugs as a daily humanitarian scandal and that the time to act and stamp it out had arrived.
“It affects millions of people, either indirectly because these drugs do not treat those who believe they are treating themselves, or directly because the falsified products used kill,” he said in a tweet.
The Brazzaville Foundation, an independent NGO based in London is teaming up with Initiative Lome to address the problem of fake drugs which is a big public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa.
Experts have stressed that porous borders and weak governance of health systems are some of the main factors that underline the proliferation of fake drugs.
A number of former heads of state are also in town as is the head of the World Health Organization, WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus.