NAIROBI, Kenya - INTERPOL's global efforts against counterfeit medicines saw the launch today of 'Proud To Be', a song recorded by two of Africa's leading musicians, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Youssou N'Dour.
As part of INTERPOL's ongoing campaign to raise public awareness worldwide, and particularly in Africa, of the health risks posed by fake medicines, 'Proud To Be' saw its first ever live public performance by Yvonne Chaka Chaka at a special event in Nairobi.
With Africa especially affected by the trade in counterfeit medicines, keynote speakers at the event underlined how thousands of innocent people on the continent and beyond unknowingly put their lives at risk every day by taking medication that is fake or has been traded illegally.
Kenya's Minister of Industrialization, Amazon Kingi, said: "Kenya is fully committed to fighting fake medicines. This crime is a global health challenge and, as a major risk to the public, it requires a multi-sector approach."
Tanzania's Minister of Home Affairs, Shamsi Vuai Nadodha, described the gathering as "an important initiative by INTERPOL to explore all methods in the fight against counterfeit medical products by raising awareness of this serious threat to public health."
The 'Proud To Be' initiative was only made possible through the voluntary support of Roll Back Malaria goodwill ambassadors Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Youssou N'Dour, both known for their commitment to humanitarian and development causes.
"We must fight fake medication if we want to achieve the health Millennium Development Goals. I want this song to educate and entertain people so they become wise to the problem of fake medication. If we all work together we can win this war," said Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
The head of INTERPOL's Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) unit, Aline Plancon, said: "INTERPOL is seeing an alarming number of international cases involving the manufacture, trade and distribution of counterfeit and illicit medicines.
"We are working with our 188 member countries, partner organizations and across the public-private sectors to disrupt the criminal networks which are making huge profits with careless disregard for people's health," added the INTERPOL official.
Key partner organizations at the event included the Fondation Chirac, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the International Institute Against Counterfeit Medicines, the Princess of Africa Foundation, Synergies Africaines, and the World Health Professions Alliance.
Additional information on INTERPOL's campaign against fake medicines is available on www.interpol.int, where extracts of the song can be viewed as well as on YouTube. Further events and steps in INTERPOL's campaign against fake medicines will see full video streaming and the release of the song in multiple formats and mixes.