Experts poised to prevent medicine-related problems
Some 35 technical experts and representatives of pharmaceutical regulatory bodies from five Anglophone countries have met in Accra to deliberate on ways to improve pharmacovigilance.
Pharmacovigilance is the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other medicine/ vaccine related problem.
The participants drawn from Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia, learnt how to develop country-specific strategies to boost the capacities of regulatory bodies for effective pharmacovigilance.
Organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the five-day workshop, was the second phase of a series of workshops with the first one held for francophone countries months ago.
At the opening on Tuesday, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Director of Pharmacy, Ms Joycelyn Azeez, advocated the development and implementation of robust pharmacovigilance systems aligned with global best practices and evolving health needs.
He said a strategy for effective pharmacovigilance should prioritise collaboration with stakeholders; continuous learning and adaption to new challenges and emerging trends and the use of technology and digital solutions.
In addition, the minister said, strengthening of regulatory frameworks; capacity building of healthcare providers and regulators; increased public awareness on pharmacovigilance and the role of patients as well as international collaborations were important.
“I am confident that our quest for improved maturity in pharmacovigilance will have a significant impact on the safety and well-being of our citizens. By working together and leveraging our collective expertise and resources, we can ensure that our healthcare system is equipped with the necessary tools and systems to identify and prevent adverse drug reactions,” Mr Agyeman-Manu said.
He said the “MedSafety App” deployed by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to enable the public to report any adverse effect of drugs, was a critical contribution to pharmacovigilance maturity process.
“The Ministry would continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to achieve our shared goals in patient safety and protection of health of all persons living in Ghana,” Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said.
Represented at the workshop were the WHO, Ghana Health Service, the Food and Drugs Authority; similar bodies from participating countries as well as regional health organisations.
Issues discussed included peer-review exercises conducted in 2022; ways to improve pharmacovigilance maturity in Africa, and roadmap towards achieving maturity levels by October 2023.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR