Maputo — Mozambique's Health Ministry on Thursday inaugurated in Maputo a new laboratory for quality control of medicines available in the country.
Opened experimentally last April, the new laboratory is located in the Mavalane neighbourhood in the outskirts of the capital, reports the daily paper "Noticias".
It will certify medicines imported from a number of countries in the world.
The previous laboratory was closed in 1998, and since then the health authorities had to rely on a small field laboratory which was unable to produce accurate result.
Polly Dunford, interim director of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the institution that financed the rehabilitation and purchase of the equipment, explained that this is very important step for Mozambique because people will now buy certified medicines, rather than others of questionable origin and quality.
"The laboratory will test all medicines entering Mozambique, including antimalarials, antiretrovirals, antibiotics, among other drugs," said Dunford.
For her part, Isabel Chemane, laboratory director, said the new facilities have the ability to evaluate the quality of medicines circulating in the country, which was not possible previously. Often they had to rely on other countries, such as the neighbouring South Africa.
Questioned about allegations of counterfeit and expired medicines circulating in the country that have been denounced by the local press in the last few years, Chemane said those cases should be reported to the Pharmaceutical Department of the Health Ministry, which has a hotline for that purpose.
"If someone suspects certain medicines or believes that they cause side effects they should report to the Pharmaceutical Department, which will later send the samples to laboratory for testing purposes," she said.
The laboratory is working with a staff of six technicians, a number will rise with the return of others who were deployed to other departments when the old laboratory was closed.
As for the controversy about the circulation of expired medicines, Chemane said that is an issue from the past, because all drugs have already been incinerated.
"Though I am not the right person to talk about it, I'm in a position to say that it is no longer a problem because all drugs were incinerated", she stressed.