In Senegal, what future for the country’s only drug manufacturing plant?


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                The Médis site, a subsidiary of a Tunisian group, located in Thiaroye in the suburbs of Dakar, has been at a standstill since mid-January.  In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, President Macky Sall requested, during the last Council of Ministers, the rapid revival of the activities of the plant, for a better supply of the country in pharmaceutical products.  Hope for the employees.

                                    <p><em>With our special correspondent from Thiaroye</em>, <strong>Charlotte Idrac</strong>

No noise from machines or vehicles. Everything is at a standstill in the blue and white buildings of Médis. But employees continue to come to the site. Moreover, for Nicodème Ngom, staff representative, everything is ready for a revival: “ We don’t lack for anything to get started, because we have the raw material, the equipment is there, the people are there. »

The management justified their decision by financial difficulties. The employees therefore found themselves technically unemployed, without pay. For them, the call of the head of state is good news, but there are still bottlenecks.

Nationalization and medical autonomy

For Médoune Diop, spokesperson for the workers, failing that, we must consider nationalizing: ” We felt that the management was unwilling to reopen the factory. Workers’ wages, in the future, they want to reduce. Otherwise, we ask the government to come and reopen the plant. Either find other private partners, or nationalize the company. »

Khoudia Gaye has been working in Médis for ten years, she was in charge of “compliance and projects”. For her, it is also a question of sovereignty: “ In Senegal, here, all the other pharmaceutical industries only do repackaging. We also manufacture for the sub-region. It is not only the fight of the employees of Médis. It is time for Africa to ensure its autonomy, in terms of food, health and medicine. »

Until 2002, the plant notably manufactured chloroquine, which is now used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients in Senegal.


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