In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the local pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution sector is critical for achieving universal health coverage. These companies play a significant role in manufacturing, procuring, storing, and distributing health products to pharmacies, hospitals and health facilities across the country.
“In DRC, there are several (private) manufacturers and distributors certified for their quality, and our role at VillageReach is to help build successful public-private collaborations to become essential partners of the countries health system,” said Freddy Nkosi, VillageReach’s Country Director in the DRC.
Building these collaborations is a vital part of our work in the DRC, where VillageReach has been active since 2017. VillageReach believes that leveraging private sector capacity in public health supply chains is one of the best ways to ensure people everywhere have access to health products when and where they need them. Integrating private pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors into the country’s supply chain will not only strengthen the health system but also promote the growth of local manufacturing and distribution companies.
“The promotion of our pharmaceutical companies is important. We appreciate the efforts of partners such as VillageReach,” said Mr. John NKONO, Secretary General of the Federation of Enterprises in Congo (FEC).
However, to do this successfully requires visibility.
In 2022 VillageReach shared a list of local DRC manufacturers and distributors, certified by the National Authority for Pharmaceutical Regulation (ANRP), with the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), a pan-African platform for online purchases of health products. While tech-enabled procurement mechanisms in Africa are growing, there needs to be more visibility around what local certified pharmaceutical companies exist in each country. By acting as an intermediary and providing AMSP with this information, the platform now includes Phatkin, a local DRC supplier of hydro-alcoholic gels (Phatgel*).
“We were delighted with this new market opportunity and recognize the importance of increased visibility for our companies internationally,” said the Managing Director of PhatKin, Mr. Donat KAMBALE.
VillageReach is actively working with the Congolese Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (ACOREP) and the FEC to develop a directory of certified pharmaceutical companies in the DRC. This directory will be publicly available by the end of June 2023, making it easier for partners such as AMSP to connect directly with local DRC companies.
“Promoting pharmaceutical companies is a good thing,” said Christian Ntumba, Director General of ACOREP. “But compliance with quality standards is crucial. This directory, which showcases companies certified by ACOREP, seems to us to be an excellent initiative.”
These efforts to increase the visibility of local pharmaceutical companies and integrate these companies into the public health supply chain is a key strategic approach to ensuring equity in health care access in low- and middle-income countries.