13 December 2012

Tanzania: Global Nod for Local Drug Quality Labs

THE Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) Food and Microbiology Laboratories have received accreditation from the Southern Africa Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS).

This has made the facility to become the first in East Africa to get such recognition. Due to its international recognition, the Authority's medical laboratories have also been appointed as referral labs for animal drug tests by the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH).

The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, said that the achievement shows how the authority's competence was recognized at international level.

"I commend the management and all TFDA employees for the good work that has led to the SADCAS accreditation ISO/EC17025:2005, which details the laboratories competency.

You should keep up the good work," Dr Mwinyi said. Dr Mwinyi said the achievement would not have been possible without the assistance of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Unicef.

Development partners provided TFDA with laboratory equipment and training, Dr Mwinyi explained. In his opening remarks, the TFDA Director General, Hiiti Sillo, said expansion of the Food and Microbiology Laboratories began in 2006 and was completed in 2008, funded by government, to a tune of 676m/-.

Mr Sillo said by achieving the SADCAS accreditation, the Authority has completed a long journey of putting in place robust control systems. He said TFDA now meets the ISO 2001:2008 standards on management and leadership systems.

Drug and Cosmetic laboratories have been accredited by the WHO and now Food and Microbiology Laboratories have been accredited by SADACAS. "As we forge ahead, we should now transform these achievements into action by working hard to meet government's expectation of the Authority through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the public who are the target of our servicers,' he explained.

Earlier, when taking the Minister on tour of the Food and Microbiology Lab, TFDA Director of Laboratory Services, Ms Charys Ugullum said the lab is divided into two sections; Food and Cosmetics and Drugs, with nine qualified personnel.

The Lab is equipped with Bio safety cabinets, incubators which ensure samples stay completely sterilized, as required by international standards. Ms Ugullum said they were expecting to start receiving samples from other countries, following the TFDA's recent SADCAS accreditation.

She explained that they have also received a machine from the International Atomic Energy Agency that allows testing for drug residues in livestock products. "We did a trial testing on eggs and milk from a local farm and what we found is worrisome. We intend to carry out more tests to gauge the extent of the problem, so we can come up with ways to educate the farmers," Ms Ugullum explained.

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