A high-powered delegation from the National AIDS Council (NAC), the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) conducted a familiarisation tour of Midlands State University (MSU) on the 24th of March 2021 to ascertain the institution’s preparedness to commence the production of pharmaceutical products.
In response to calls by the government for local institutions to manufacture pharmaceutical products, MSU currently has two projects running, namely, the Indigenous Fruits and Herbs project, and the Anti-cancer and Anti-malaria project. Both projects are in keeping with efforts to provide local pharmaceutical products designed to meet the nation’s health needs and increase access to vital medicines in a sustainable and affordable manner.
In her remarks, MSU Pro Vice-Chancellor Business, Innovation and Enterprise Development, Professor Grace Mugumbate applauded the visit by NAC, MoHCC and MCAZ and highlighted the University’s willingness and state of preparedness to venture into the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.
Professor Mugumbate noted that the visit would present opportunities for further collaboration on multiple fronts and further strengthen relations between the University and NAC, MoHCC and MCAZ.
“As a nation, we must look inwardly and develop local-based solutions to local and international challenges. Your visit today comes at an opportune time and will unlock a world of possibilities to help solve local challenges and ensure the health and wellbeing of the country.
Speaking during the event, NAC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Bernard Madzima, commended Midlands State University for its efforts to venture into the production of pharmaceuticals, noting that the move would significantly contribute to the country’s health sector. He also expressed optimism and indicated NAC’s readiness to collaborate with the University.
“We will surge our collaboration with MSU and pursue local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products,” said Dr Madzima.
In his presentation, the Executive Dean of Science and Technology, Dr Action Nechibvute outlined MSU’s current capacity to partner with strategic stakeholders in the production of pharmaceuticals.
“There are two new degree programmes at MSU that are directly related to the development and production of pharmaceutical and related products … these include a degree in Pharmacy and a degree in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Above this, we have modern laboratories, an Incubation Hub and an Industrial Park. However, the University needs assistance in acquiring additional equipment specific to pharmaceutical production lines.
Partnerships to facilitate the establishment of a well-equipped plant and laboratories for the manufacture of ARVs and other pharmaceutical products are welcome. The university has the human capital with the relevant experience and expertise for the production of pharmaceuticals,” said Dr Nechibvute.
During discussions, Professor Mugumbate also highlighted that MSU was keen to venture into research focusing on the formulation of an HIV vaccine or related drugs and that the research would be conducted by members of staff and students in the Medicinal, Biological and Chemistry departments.
The visit ended with a tour of the University’s various facilities that included the Chemical Technology Laboratories, the Incubation Hub and the Industrial Park. Those in attendance included MSU Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Academic Affairs, Professor A. S. Chiromo, the Librarian, Ms N. P. Chibanda, the Executive Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr Reginald Matchava-Hove and the University Enterprises Executive Director, Mr A. Mukwembi.
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