Dr. Dhiren Thakker, Founding President and CEO at Med Aditus, sat down with me to share his insights into how blockchain and other leading-edge technologies can help revolutionize pharmaceutical manufacturing in sub-Saharan Africa and globally. He also explored current threats to global health and the role of technology in mitigating some of the health challenges that lie ahead, plus much more.
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: Can you spell to us what the problem statements were about getting medications and really important things in the underserved populations in the Sub-Saharan area prior to COVID, and what is happening now post-COVID?
A: I think it was a very interesting time to start Med Aditus. Actually, I launched Med Aditus in December of 2019 and as you know, January or February of 2020 we were struck by this crazy, incredible pandemic. In many ways, it made my life a bit difficult but in some interesting ways actually, the pandemic really made my case. I had always worried about the fact that although countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are able to get their medicine by importing mostly from Asia, that is not sustainable. I have felt this for many years because we are dependent on other countries. We are dependent on a supply chain that may or may not always be robust and, very importantly, in that transport from Asia to Africa, there are so many different places where the medicines could be substituted with substandard and counterfeit medicines. For all these reasons, I was pushing that the long-term solution for Sub-Saharan Africa to create access to medicine is local manufacturing.
In many ways, the pandemic made my case a lot more effectively than I could. As you know, instantaneously the supplies of very critical medicine were interrupted, not only to Africa but even to the US. As you know, a lot of the US drugs are being manufactured in Asia, China, India, and brought here. Seeing that this kind of event, man-made or natural, could in a matter of minutes to hours, really stop the supply of something that is so vital. I think everybody now gets it. So the government and private sector, individuals in Africa are very keen to really pursue this whole idea of creating local capacity.
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Dhiren Thakker, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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