10 December 2018

Africa: TFDA Emerges Top in Africa

... as the first to attain maturity level three of the WHO benchmarking programme

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) is today expected to name Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) as the first authority in the African continent to attain maturity level three of the WHO benchmarking programme.

The TFDA acting Director General, Mr Adam Fimbo, told the 'Daily News' during an interview yesterday that the official declaration is expected to be made in Kigali, Rwanda, later today.

WHO plays a pivotal role in supporting countries in strengthening their regulatory systems and promoting equitable access to quality, safe, efficacious, and affordable medical products and health products.

In order to strengthen their regulatory functions, the benchmarking of TFDA and the Zanzibar Food and Drug Agency (ZFDA) was done in May by a team of Technical officers from WHO Headquarters and Country Offices and experts from some countries in Africa and Europe.

Benchmarking is done to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. At the same time, development of an Institutional Development Plan (IDP) to build on strengths and address areas for improvement is done.

According to the TFDA acting DG, from the benchmark results, his institution has been classified into maturity level 3 according to its ability to perform the required regulatory functions.

"WHO categorises maturity in four levels, and in many African countries the food and drugs bodies are on level one and two, so by being placed on level three, we are becoming the first country in the continent," he said.

In maturity level 1, the agency has some elements of regulatory system existing, while at maturity level 2, the agency has evolving national regulatory system that partially performs essential regulatory functions.

At maturity level 3, TFDA has a stable, well-functioning and integrated regulatory system as per WHO criteria. And, at maturity level 4, it means, the food and drugs agency has a regulatory system operating at an advanced level of performance and continuous improvement.

TFDA was previously benchmarked in 2011 and 2016 by a WHO team of experts for its regulatory functions and in the implementation of recommended activities in the medicines and vaccines regulation as part of the IDP.

"The benchmarking this time was part of the continuous monitoring and followup to evaluate the level of IDP implementation by 2018 and to determine the current level of our maturity, added Mr Fimbo.

Because of that, he said, his body has been receiving delegates from different countries in the world and that today, TFDA is expected to host experts from Uganda and Botswana who are coming in the country to borrow a leaf and lean how best to improve their agencies when they go back.

Last week, TFDA host a regional training on laboratory analysis of residues of pharmacologically active veterinary substances in animal offal as part of extension of network with other stakeholders in Africa by establishing food safety network through regional training.

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