ANDI background and rationale


"To promote and sustain African-led health product innovation to address African public health needs through efficient use of local knowledge, assembly of research networks, and building of capacity to support economic development"

Effective health tools (drugs, vaccines and diagnostics) are fundamental to tackling the diseases that disproportionately affect the African continent. However, drugs, vaccines and diagnostics are lacking for many endemic diseases and, where available, are often ineffective or too expensive. It is of the utmost urgency to scale up research aimed at discovering and developing new and improved tools to address these diseases.

Building research capability and leadership in developing countries is increasingly seen as essential to tackling these major health issues.

The WHO's Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (2001), argued that investing in research and development capabilities could play a critical role in improving health outcomes and promoting economic development. Other recent regional and international reports and declarations, for examples the Algiers declaration of 2008 and the UN millennium project 2005, have echoed these arguments.

The Global Strategy and Plan of Action on public health, innovation and intellectual property (GSPoA), outlined at the 61st World Health Assembly (WHA, 2008), provided the framework to drive health product innovation. A key element of this strategy is the formation of R&D networks in disease endemic countries to ensure that existing capabilities are leveraged, identified gaps are more effectively filled and local priorities drive the R&D agenda. As such, WHO/TDR, in conjunction with several African institutions and the African Diaspora, proposes the creation of the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI).

ANDI’s chief objective is to promote and support health product R&D led by African institutions for diseases of high prevalence in the continent. The expected outcome is the discovery, development and delivery of affordable new health tools including those based on traditional medicine, as well as the development of capacity and establishment of centres of research excellence.

ANDI was launched in Abuja in October 2008, following which, a task force was established to implement the meeting recommendations, including the development of the strategic and business plan that was presented at the 2nd ANDI stakeholders meeting (October 2009) in Cape Town. A major outcome of the Cape Town meeting was the unanimous endorsement (through a resolution) of the ANDI strategy and implementation plan.