The country kick off meeting in Ethiopia was held in Addis Ababa from 27th-31st August. A key note address made by Ms. Heran Gerba, Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian, Food, Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority (EFMHACA). On her speech, Ms. Heran mentioned that the regulatory Authority is strengthening the pre-marketing and post-marketing activities in the country. She thanked EDCTP and the partners in the consortia for the support they provided to strengthen the national Pharmacovigilance center starting March 2018. She declared the official opening of the meeting and passed her good will for the success of the program.
The available legal frameworks and tools at the national Pharmacovigilance Center, the initiatives planned to be taken by the Center were also introduced. The objectives of the meeting; which were to Conduct a joint kick off meeting and introduce the objectives of the PAVIA and PROFORMA projects and to conduct a baseline assessment on the overall pharmacovigilance system of the country there by to construct a roadmap for strengthening the national pharmacovigilance system.
The Joint baseline assessment schedule was announced. Healthcare Professionals from four selected health facilities (St. Peter TB specialized Hospital, ALERT Hospital, Bishoftu Hospital and Geda Health center) discussed the data collection tool. And, Clarification was given on the type of data required from the informants at the data collection sites.
One team collected information from the National TB program. Another team conducted the assessment on the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) and national Immunization (EPI) Programs.
The second team visited the Policy, Planning, monitoring and Evaluation Directorate at the Federal Ministry of Health
The Final day of the program was scheduled for sharing the findings of the assessment among data collectors and EFMHACA. It was a half-day session held at Elilly International Hotel.
Findings from assessing the different departments in the University, the national Medicines Regulatory Authority, the Market Authorization Holders, the National TB Program and Health facilities were presented to the plenary. This gave a wider picture as of what the pharmacovigilance situation in the country looked like.
A general recommendation was given regarding bringing together the fragmented sections of Pharmacovigilance which are found in the different available legal documents.
NEPAD representative appreciated the fact that EFMHACA is collaborating with regional countries on areas of medicines registration, which could also be extended to pharmacovigilance activities. He also mentioned since these projects are working in other countries with different Pharmacovigilance maturity levels, lessons learned can be shared. And, NEPAD will continue to support both projects.
The final closing remark was given by Deputy Director General of EFMHACA, she thanked all participants from both projects for their participation. She also stated that the findings from the assessment showed what the pharmacovigilance system looks like as a country. And, the team should take the assignment to come up with a good road map within a short period of time. She also stated that EFMHACA is ready to work towards improving the pharmacovigilance system.