Accra, Ghana, March 1st, 2017 – Under the leadership of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), the West African Health Organization (WAHO) in collaboration with United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), organized the regional kick-off workshop on the ECOWAS Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Roadmap initiative.
The workshop was held in Accra from February 28th to March 1st 2017 and in attendance were representatives from the National Medicines Regulatory Authorities (NMRAs) from 14 ECOWAS Member States, (Benin, Togo, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Senegal and The Gambia), key stakeholders and partners such as WHO, USAID, Africa Union/NEPAD, IFPMA, USP-CePAT, West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA) and pharmaceutical experts.
The objective of the initiative is to establish a strong pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in the ECOWAS region by bringing pharmaceutical manufacturers up to WHO GMP and other international standards in a step-by-step individualized improvement program to meet the goals of access to quality safe and affordable medicines. To effectively achieve this objective a fruitful agreement between ECOWAS/WAHO and UNIDO has been established to develop the GMP roadmap. The span of the project would last for 18 months.
The vision of the project is to ensure that all pharmaceutical manufacturing in ECOWAS meets international GMP standard to improve sustainable and affordable access to safe and effective essential medicines and contribute to economic growth. The ECOWAS region with a population of more than 300 million inhabitants is currently reliant on imports for roughly 80% of essential medicines.
The workshop provided the opportunity to introduce the project to stakeholders from across the region and partners to discuss and comment on the proposed approach. The participants recognized the importance of the Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Roadmap initiative for the West Africa region due to the challenges faced by the countries to access to quality medicines. They called for support and ownership of the project by all stakeholders and recommended :