There is need to strengthen pharmaceutical system as a crucial step to expand health coverage of high quality services.
The Government, through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB), realises that medicines are a critical ingredient in quality of health services and therefore its important to engage all stakeholders at every level from national medicines regulatory agency to local pharmacies.
Speaking during the launch of the PPB Strategic Plan 2020-2025, Health Ministry Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Rashid Aman said at the moment when the entire world is facing a big threat from coronavirus, the government has the necessary supplies to be able to contain the outbreak.
“This is part of the role of PPB and the health sector to be able to ensure that we have these commodities if and when we need them and that is part of our preparedness plan,” he said.
“Our hope, however, is that the country does not reach the point where we are going to try to be containing community transmission of the COVID,” he added.
He confirmed that as a country no recorded positive case of COVID 19 and that it shows the high level of vigilance that the country is operating at in the response to the pandemic.
Dr. Rashid explained that the Strategic Plan is a road map and that implementing the plans, therefore, would be key.
He, however, warned that Kenya must also take cognizance that the world is changing very fast and therefore there may be need to review the road map from time to time and adjust it according to the arising circumstances that may prevail at that time.
Dr. Jackson Kioko, the PPB Chairman said in order to protect the health of the public by regulating the profession of the pharmacy to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of medical products and health technologies, PPB is working with the Ministry’s Coronavirus Task Force in order to adopt a harmonised tactic in address the COVD 19- threat .
“The PPB is undertaking 10 steps in prevention and management of the coronavirus and we have specific role in the prevention and management of coronavirus which include accelerated issuance of market authorisation of new applications using regulatory reliance mechanism and also prioritising testing of Health Products and Technologies (HPTs),” he added.
Dr. Kioko further said the PPB will also be facilitating expedited clinical trials approval of products for COVID-19 in collaboration with other regulatory agencies such as NACOSTI and Ethics Committees.
“We are also fast tracking importation of COVID -19 HPTs and scanning the environment on new innovations,” he said
Dr. Kioko said others are prioritising testing of Health Products and Technologies in laboratories to assure quality and efficacy as well as enhancing marketing surveillance as well as explore other sources of health commodities, including Europe and the Americans inlet of export restructures of HPTs from India and China.
“We will be promoting self-sufficiency through regulation of importation and exportation of HPTs by the local industry and keep on updating the public on any new developments in relation to prevention and management of COVID 19, “ Dr. Kioko assured.
Kenya has been on high alert since January this year when the coronavirus outbreak was reported in China.
By Wangari Ndirangu