AHRI Hosts Visit of Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Mekdes Daba

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  – The Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) was honored to welcome the newly appointed Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Mekdes Daba, on March 20, 2024. The visit aimed to provide an overview of AHRI’s work and discuss important issues related to biomedical research, product development, production under the auspice of healthcare.

The visit commenced with a warm welcome from H.E. Professor Afework Kassu, Director General of AHRI, who introduced the purpose and agenda of the visit. Prof. Afework delivered a comprehensive presentation highlighting AHRI’s remarkable 54-year journey in biomedical research and development. He emphasized the institute’s new mandates, ongoing research activities, and the development and production initiatives undertaken by AHRI.

Following the general presentation, H.E. Dr. Mekdes Daba and her team, accompanied by senior officials and management members of AHRI, took a tour of the biomedical research laboratories, the new AHRI building, and the historical sites within the ALERT-AHRI Health Village. This provided an opportunity to witness firsthand the institute’s cutting-edge facilities and its contribution to scientific advancements.

During discussions with AHRI’s management, H.E. Dr. Mekdes Daba expressed the importance of translating knowledge generated through research into actionable outcomes. She emphasized the need for aligning AHRI’s research efforts with the programs of the Ministry of Health (MoH) to ensure coherence and maximize impact. The minister acknowledged AHRI’s significant scientific contributions to the international community and encouraged the institute to actively participate in the national eradication program, particularly in addressing leprosy.

Dr. Mekdes highlighted the value of robust evidence synthesis, such as meta-analysis and systematic reviews, in supporting evidence-informed decision-making. She emphasized the alignment of AHRI’s plans with the national agenda, particularly in critical areas identified by the Ministry of Health. The minister also emphasized the importance of transitioning capacity-building training to online platforms for wider accessibility. Drawing on experience-sharing platforms from international organizations like the WHO Academy in France was seen as a valuable opportunity for insights and knowledge exchange.

Addressing the need for sustained research excellence, the minister emphasized the importance of reducing the attrition rate of researchers and staff through effective grant hunting strategies. Furthermore, she stressed the significance of product development and production, particularly in the field of vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The minister commended AHRI’s support for the ShieldVax project and emphasized the importance of local pharmaceutical production with a focus on quality and productivity. The minister highlighted the need to reassess and support Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant pharmaceutical manufacturing industries to reach maturity.

The visit concluded on a positive note, with both AHRI and the Ministry of Health expressing their commitment to collaboration and strengthening the partnership for the advancement of biomedical research, pharmaceutical product development and production as part of the healthcare in Ethiopia.



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