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.