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01-10-2018, Entebbe (Uganda): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning opened a workshop for Member States’ experts in charge of Medicines Regulation Authorities to train them on the IGAD Protocol for the Survey of the Quality of Medicines in Selected Cross-border Areas.

During this five-day meeting in Entebbe and with technical assistance from the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) program, which is financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), the participants will be trained of sample collection techniques for the purpose of conducting the survey.

The overall objective of the survey to be conducted is to assess the quality of Oxytocin injection by determining the proportion of sub-standard and falsified oxytocin injection in circulation at selected cross-border health facilities in the IGAD region. The survey will also provide data on oxytocin injection quality for Member States’ enforcement or regulatory authorities to take action. Recommendations to address medicine quality problems identified through this survey will also be made.

Dr. Fatuma Aden, Senior Regional Program Coordinator in IGAD’s Health & Social Development Division, said the “meeting will ultimately improve efficiency of the health system by ensuring availability of quality, safety and efficacy of health products and commodities to patients in the region”. “It is my hope that by the end of this meeting, regional experts will be equipped with necessary skills to conduct this important joint exercise for IGAD. This activity will help institutionalize Medicines Regulation and Harmonisation (MRH) interventions that IGAD is planning for the region”, she concluded in her opening remarks.

“As we look through the Protocol and get to finalising the work we started in June 2018, we may come to a reasonable point where we can implement the surveillance medicines quality in the region”, Dr Timothy Nwogu, PQM Principal Program Manager, noted in his opening remarks. He continued that if success was registered in building local capacity within IGAD Member States, that would be “IGAD legacy and IGAD achievement” for the collective efforts by stakeholders and partners.

Ms. Agiso Odhuno, Regional Global Fund Liaison based at USAID Office in Nairobi, said her organisation’s interest in seeing harmonization of health systems at cross-border areas so that services can be provided to vulnerable populations specifically.

Mr. Wendu Ketele Urgaha, from the Ethiopian Food, Medicines, and Health Care Administration and Control Authority, in his capacity as Chair of the meeting, officially opened the workshop after the head of the Ugandan delegation, as host country, welcomed the participants.

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