PARLIAMENTARY Standing Committee on Health and HIV/AIDS has issued a directive and recommendation to the Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) to seek funding for the improvement of their laboratory infrastructure.
The committee Chairperson Stanslaus Nyongo issued the directives on Monday, following an inspection of various laboratories, where he said they need expansion to enhance quality services and efficiency.
The committee members observed that TMDA laboratories meet international standards, possess state-of-the-art equipment, exhibit great attention to detail, and are vigilant against counterfeit drugs but the rooms housing the equipment were too small.
Mr Nyongo said, "Reaching Level 4 standards is a significant international achievement. Very few labs worldwide have attained such levels."
Committee member, Hamis Kigwangala who is also the Nzega legislator questioned whether the transition from Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) to TMDA had posed any challenges, particularly in transferring food monitoring responsibilities to the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS). He raised concerns about the potential loss of checks and balances.
On his side, Arusha Urban MP Mrisho Gambo expressed satisfaction with TMDA's progress but noted that the laboratories were small. He suggested providing special incentives to TMDA laboratory experts to safeguard against corruption temptations due to the sensitive nature of their work.
The committee also commended TMDA for utilizing information and communication technology (ICT) to streamline services and reduce bureaucracy.
TMDA's Director, Dr Adam Fimbo stated that operationally, they had not encountered any challenges. He acknowledged potential policy-related issues but emphasized that TMDA's responsibilities had been streamlined during the transition from TFDA to TMDA.
The transition occurred during the fifth phase administration and was aimed at enhancing the performance of both TMDA and TBS.
Kigamboni MP, Faustine Ndungulile expressed appreciation for TMDA's work but urged them to accelerate monitoring and inspections of counterfeit drugs and medical devices in the market, to combat their proliferation.
In response, the TMDA Director Dr Fimbo pledged to take action based on the MP's advice.
"We are reducing the type and number of drugs to inspect based on the resources available at our disposal," Dr Fimbo explained. "But inspection remains our primary responsibility to remove counterfeit drugs and its consequences in the community."