2006-2016 report : Health, a new common challenge : ideas to take action

Published : Friday 20 May 2016

Health, a new common challenge, at the top of the Euro-Mediterranean political agenda


More than ever, health is of primary concern for Southern populations

 At the healthcare level, SEMCs are faced with a double burden. They must maintain policies to fight against traditional diseases, which rely mainly on vaccination policy, while having to face new diseases characteristic from developed countries (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, HIV, obesity, etc.). In addition to the epidemiological transition, other transitions are adding up (demographic, organisational, democratic). Financial resources remain limited and the post-Arab spring context gave rise to an increasing demand of populations for a better access to health care, for all and at the lowest cost. Such is the complex health context facing North African countries. This diagnosis, shared by the concerned actors, was the foundation of IPEMED’s reflection.

 Reinforced South-South and South-North relations for a “5+5” health Dialogue

 These common health challenges encourage governments to implement significant structural reforms. Without taking the place of local policy-makers, IPEMED is willing to support the development of fair and solidarity-based health policies, adapted to populations’ priority needs, realistic on the economic level and politically supported by most of the population. To do so, regional cooperation (South-South but also North-South) is more than ever necessary. This is the object of the health dynamic carried out by IPEMED, which led to the implementation of a Western Mediterranean 5+5 Dialogue in the health sector, run by the Moroccan Ministry of Health with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 Towards a North-African pharmaceutical market, a practical course of action

 The share granted to medicines accounts for over a third of the global health spending in North African countries. Even though the national industry is unquestionably developing (Central North African countries), with an increasing coverage of national needs, some challenges remain among which the low production of generic medicines, the multiplicity of manufacturing units, the dependence on raw material supply, etc. It is therefore necessary to think about a greater integration of this high-potential market. By relying on the complementarities among North African markets, integration could be made through the manufacturing, common purchase of medicines and harmonisation of regulations via the mutual recognition of marketing authorisations, and even the implementation of a North African marketing authorisation. Morocco and Tunisia are already working on this project.

 Key ideas promoted by IPEMED

  • Supporting the implementation of fair and solidarity-based health systems ensuring access to quality healthcare for all (development in 10 points with potential reforms)
  • Reinforcing South-South and South-North cooperation, especially via a Western Mediterranean 5+5 Dialogue on healthcare
  • Encouraging a greater integration of the pharmaceutical market via the convergence of national marketing authorisations

 A successful health dynamic

  • Leading of a work group comprised of North African specialists in public health
  • Drawing up of a shared diagnosis
  • Reflection including the five North African countries
  • Implementation of a strong political lobbying
  • Launching of the 5+5 dialogue dynamic and implementation of an informal work group
  • IPEMED, observer member of the 5+5 Dialogue on health


We very much rely on IPEMED’s support and on your collaboration to make a success of this new challenge, the dynamic of which was initiated in your premises.” 

Dr Abdelali Belghiti Alaoui, Secretary General, Moroccan Ministry of Health


Associate experts : Farid Chaoui, Mohamed Wadie Zerhouni, Michel Legros

 Main publications :

  • Les Notes d’Ipemed, « Les systèmes de santé en Algérie, Maroc et Tunisie : défis nationaux et enjeux partagés », April 2012
  • Construire la Meditérranée, “Moving towards a North African pharmaceutical market”, June 2015
  • Construire la Méditerranée, « Vers un marché maghrébin du médicament : Algérie, Libye, Maroc, Mauritanie, Tunisie », January 2016

 Key figures

10 countries involved in the 5+5 Dialogue

3 meetings with Southern Ministers of Health

3 official statements of the “5+5” Foreign affairs Dialogue speaking about health

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