HomeNewsZimbabwe medicines lab gets WHO approval

Zimbabwe medicines lab gets WHO approval

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ZIMBABWEANS stand to gain access to better medicines after the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s approval, this week, of a medicines quality control laboratory in Harare.

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The approval, which follows a thorough assessment by WHO, means that the laboratory operates in compliance with international standards and can carry out quality tests on medicines purchased by the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and malaria, as well as 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.

“This is important work WHO does to improve the functioning of health services,” Kees De Joncheere, director of essential medicines at WHO, said.

“Preparing countries to cater to their populations’ health needs, and face crises 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.”

The laboratory, which is part of the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, is the sixth quality control outfit to receive WHO pre-qualification in sub-Saharan Africa.

As with the other five, the MCAZ lab benefited from expert assistance from WHO, including guidance and training to raise its performance to the level of international standards, making the lab eligible for prequalification.

“We are proud of this achievement,” said David Okello, WHO representative in Zimbabwe.

“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.”

WHO approval of medicines gives a strong validation of a product’s quality and increases the countries’ capacity to test medicines locally.

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