Empowering civil society in medicines transparency
Posted on 9 February 2010
The Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT) held its first forum in Manila in the Philippines on 28 January 2010 at the Diamond Hotel, with the theme Empowering Civil Society in Medicines Transparency: Bridging the Gap from Plan to Action.
The theme highlights the role of CHAT and its member CSOs in advocating access to medicines through transparency and good governance in the medicines supply chain. As a major stakeholder in the drive to make essential medicines available, civil society must be engaged in a meaningful way.
Dr Alberto G. Romualdez Jr, Chairman of MeTA Philippines, addressed the forum and stressed the importance of assessing the progress of CHAT as a major stakeholder in MeTA. He reflected on the work of CHAT during the past year. This has focused on the issue of high medicine prices which limit access to healthcare, especially by poor people. Dr Romualdez noted the role of CHAT and its individual members in lobbying for the implementation of specific provisions in the Cheaper Medicines Law (RA 9502), as well as in the enactment of the new law strengthening the drug regulatory agency in the Philippines.
The members of the forum discussed issues around access to medicines in the Philippines, and how CHAT and MeTA function individually and together. While the objectives of CHAT are aligned with MeTA’s, it is important that civil society is properly equipped to plan, strategise and move forward on its own.
The group also planned areas of work around a CHAT Discussion Series, capacity building, education and training, research, information, communication and advocacy, a membership campaign, regional roadshow and individual CSO projects.