Health Reporter
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe’s laboratory is now a reference centre for quality checks in Africa following a recent approval by the World Health Organisation (WHO).The laboratory becomes the sixth in Sub-Saharan Africa to get such accreditation from WHO and will, therefore, be conducting quality checks on medicines from elsewhere in the region.

WHO representative in Zimbabwe Dr David Okello said his organisation was proud of the MCAZ’s achievement.

“In essence it means that when the Global Fund buys millions of dollars’ worth of medicines for Southern African countries, it can rely on the Zimbabwean laboratory to assist in ensuring the medicines are safe and effective. Without this kind of service, lives would be placed at risk and precious donor funds could be wasted,” said Dr Okello.

According to WHO, the national laboratory approval follows a thorough assessment, which showed that the laboratory operated in compliance with international standards.

This, therefore, meant that the laboratory could carry out quality tests on medicines purchased by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria and by other large purchasers of medicines for developing countries, such as UNICEF.

“It also sends a strong message to local and importing manufacturers that their medicines will be tested according to international standards, thereby potentially improving the quality of their products and patient treatments,” said Dr Okello.

Director of essential medicines with WHO Dr Kees de Joncheere said the assessments were done to improve the functioning of health services.

“Preparing countries to cater to their populations’ health needs and face crisis such as the current Ebola outbreak more effectively, can only be done by bolstering the capacity of health professionals and the functioning of public health structures,” said Dr de Joncheere.

Apart from increasing countries’ capacity to test medicines locally, the WHO pre-qualification of quality control laboratories scheme provides a second step in the quality assurance services.


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