WHO’s recognition of TFDA is good for attracting investors

Sunday December 16 2018


By Saumu Jumanne saumu.j@gmail.com

Many times we yearn to get good news from our country. World over it is known that bad news sells and good news more often than not is considered normality, and may not push, for example a newspaper to reach high circulation figures for the day.

But some good news can sell, more so in business minded media houses. Take the case of the recent news where Tanzania was recently confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the first African country “to achieve a well-functioning, regulatory system for medical products”.

This is great news for private companies that are manufacturing medicines in Tanzania. If used properly, it gives them a huge boost to enter the international market. That, their regulator, the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA), is ranked first in Africa by WHO.

If the regulatory regime ensures highest quality for medicine and this has been recognized at the global level, entry to export market for firms making medicine become a huge possibility.

TFDA reaching the coveted benchmark was a result of the good work that has been made over the years in “ensuring medicines in the healthcare system are of good quality, safe and produce the intended health benefit.”

It is a great achievement for Tanzania being the first African country to attain maturity level three of the WHO benchmarking programme. This was arrived at using WHO global benchmarking tool, according to Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The importance of this achievement is derived from the fact that, TFDA has for some years consistently ensured not only access to medicine but quality assurance as well going a long way in improving health care services.

In the world that we are living today, counterfeit medicine is a global evil business. Without TFDA doing its job well, Tanzania would be flooded with cheap counterfeit drugs, threatening the lives of millions of our people.

With the nod from WHO, we are now more assured that medicine products allowed in Tanzania by TFDA do what they are supposed to do- help in healing process, if used correctly, and they don’t harm the patients.

I want to take this opportunity to wish TFDA to aim higher and reach WHO’s level four. Available information indicates the rest of African countries’ food and drugs bodies are on level one and two. The highest level, the most desirable one is 4.

In other recent good news, the 4th Phase President Jakaya Kikwete congratulated Dr Dafrossa Lyimo, the country’s programme manager for immunisation and vaccine. This was for being recognised by Geneva-based organisation Gavi for her leadership in driving immunisation programmes in Tanzania.

Gavi describes itself as a Vaccine Alliance that “brings together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to vaccines for children, wherever they live.”

The former president, who is also a global ambassador for immunisation noted that Dr Lyimo “has done tremendous work in improving immunisation services in the country”.

According to Gavi, vaccine doses as a health intervention offer the same opportunity to deliver health for all. They (vaccines) offer the building blocks to better healthcare! Diseases like polio, measles and rubella used to wipe out generation, but have been contained.

Sometime last year, Dr Lyimo, was quoted as saying that Tanzania had achieved 97 per cent immunisation coverage and was on the way to reach 100 per cent target.

According to Dr Tedros, WHO director general, the world cannot achieve health for all without vaccines for all. This means for Tanzania, if we are reaching own and global targets for immunisation, then we are on the right track to building health blocks for a healthy nation. Kudos to Dr Lyimo for her global recognition!