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EAC/PTB Regional Workshop on Rapid Drug Quality Verification and Falsified Medicines Detection using GPHF Minilabs concludes in Zanzibar

The regional workshop for rapid Drug quality verification and falsified medicines detection using Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) Minilabs concluded on 20th January, 2017 at the School of Health Sciences in Zanzibar.

The 16th to 20th January, 2017 workshop covered training of Partner States Drug Inspectors, Laboratory Analysts and Pharmacists on the use of the Minilab systems and allowed for exchange of experiences among experts from all EAC Partner States except South Sudan. The content of the workshop is drawn from existing guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pharmacopoeias and other compendia as well as the Global Pharma Health Fund’s long-term Minilab project work on the detection of counterfeit medicines using simple pharmaceutical analysis.

The overall objective of the workshop was to train drug Inspectors on how to test basic and vital anti-infective medicines such as anti-microbial, anti-retroviral, anti-malarial, anti-hypertensive and anti-tuberculosis that would be instantly life-threatening when they are contained in spurious quantities or do not meet international best standards.

Addressing the workshop participants during the official handing-over of six minilabs to the Chief Pharmacist in the Zanzibari Ministry of Health, the EAC Director of Productive Sectors, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana, who represented the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Productive and Social Sectors) thanked the German Metrology Institute (PTB) for accepting to supply a total of 20 GPHF minilabs to the National Medicines Regulatory Authorities in Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar and Burundi. Havugimana also thanked the Zanzibar authorities and the College of Health, Zanzibar for hosting the workshop.

He disclosed that the supply of minilabs and training of EAC Drug Inspectors will yield tangible results to the EAC population who require high quality standards medicines free from counterfeits and falsified products.

“I am proud of this achievement. It is a tangible result which EAC as a whole and Partner States and in particular Medicines Regulatory Authorities need to be proud of. Minilabs will go a long way in helping the Republic of Rwanda, Burundi, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zanzibar in setting up a functioning decentralized market surveillance system that is able to protect EAC citizens, who are the intended beneficiaries, consumers from falsified drugs,” said the Director.

In his remarks, the Chief Pharmacist from the Ministry of Health of Zanzibar, Dr. Habib Ali Shariff, said that the Zanzibar Food and Drug Board is actively participating in regional harmonization initiatives and has already amended their regulations to strengthen medicines regulatory capacity for the betterment of the EAC population.

Dr. Shariff said that circulation of substandard products is a global problem and therefore, it is the responsibility of every Medicines Regulatory Agency to ensure supply of quality medicines to the end users.

The regional workshop on GPHF Minilab funded by German Metrology Institute saw 15 Drug Inspectors from EAC Partner States who participated in the workshop being awarded certificates for completion of the Training of Trainers workshop.

Germany supports Pandemic Preparedness and ICT in the EAC

The Federal Republic of Germany and the East African Community (EAC) on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016, signed a Government Agreement of 7 million euros. The Secretary-General of the East African Community Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko signed on behalf of the Community while His Excellency Egon Kochanke, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Republic of Tanzania and also accredited to the East African Community signed on behalf the Germany Government.

3 million euros in technical assistance will be invested in strengthening the pandemic preparedness of the region. The project will support the operationalization of the EAC Regional Contingency Plan and a regional risk and crisis communication strategy.

4 million euros in technical assistance will be invested in an Academic Center for Digital Innovation. The project will support the set-up of a State of the Art Master programme focusing on embedded and mobile systems at an East African University, supporting the development of a skilled labor force in East Africa.

The projects will be implemented by the GIZ, the German International Cooperation Agency.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, thanked the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for its support to the EAC.

‘’We have truly benefited from the German support which has catalysed other development Partners to support our projects and programmes,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.

H.E. Egon Kochanke, Ambassador said: “Our support underlines that Germany wishes to further strengthen the long-standing and deep relationship it maintains with the East African Community in order to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of its citizens”.

Accompanying Ambassador Kochanke was the Country Director of GIZ, Dr. Regine Qualmannand, the Deputy Head of the GIZ Program at the EAC Dr. Kirsten Focken as well as Councellor of the Embassy, Mrs Lena Thiede. Others at the function were EAC Deputy Secretary General Finance and Administration, Hon Jesca Eriyo and Deputy Secretary Productive and Social Sector Hon. Christophe Bazivamo.

Since cooperation began in 1998 the total volume of German support to the EAC amounts to over 240 million euro.

GIZ is providing services worldwide in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. GIZ has over 17,000 staff in over 130 countries, headquarters are in Bonn and Eschborn/ Germany.

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