WHO official proposes measures to ensure safety of medical products in Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Luis Sambo has proposed measures to ensure that only safe, good quality and effective medical products are available in countries in the Region.

The measures, proposed by Dr. Sambo in a report Tuesday to Health Ministers attending the 63rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, taking place in Brazzaville, Congo, 2-6 Sept., include the establishment of an appropriate body such as a National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA).

He said the body should be an autonomous and full-fledged department in order to ensure its independence, transparency and accountability in decision-making.

Dr. Sambo also called on countries to adapt and use WHO-recommended guidelines that include the use of mechanisms such as the WHO “Pre-qualification Programme”, which ensures that diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and immunization-related equipment and devices for high burden diseases meet global standards of quality, safety and efficacy.

Referring to the challenge of outdated and inconsistent laws in some countries, the WHO official said: “Governments have primary responsibility for establishing a comprehensive and functional regulatory system in countries. Systematic approaches to regular assessment of the regulatory systems should be adopted to achieve the goals of the pharmaceutical sector. The legal and regulatory framework should allow effective implementation of regulatory activities.”