Ghana: Food and Drugs Authority outlines programmes for 2021 amidst COVID-19

CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko, has reassured members of the general public of the efficacy of the face masks, hand sanitizers and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) the authority has approved for use by the public.

She cautioned suppliers to ensure strict adherence to the approved standards for these products and added that random inspections will be carried out by staff of the authority as part of its post market surveillance activities to ensure compliance.

Mrs. Darko also urged the general public to observe the COVID-19 protocols of regular hand washing and social distancing in the fight against the pandemic.

As the regulator of food and medicinal products in Ghana, the FDA has since April 2020, approved more than 10 different brands of face and nose masks for use by the general public. The authority has also certified 45 companies to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the pandemic.

Outlining key activities for this year, Mrs. Darko indicated that the authority is working on the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine. Once a vaccine is approved for use in Ghana, the Ministry of Health will issue a national policy on the use of the COVID-19 vaccine.

While the FDA has begun the year with a resolve to ensure the protection of public health and safety, it seeks to enhance public confidence through its activities and programmes in 2021, underpinned by its core values of integrity, accountability and teamwork. To this end, the CEO, Mrs. Darko has urged staff of the FDA to discharge their duties with professionalism and integrity.

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The authority as part of its activities for 2021 has introduced a customer survey platform, to obtain feedback from consumers and clients in order to improve its services to the general public.

The survey is to enable consumers share their service experience, make suggestions and recommendations on the registration of products and facilities, as well as report suspicious products and activities to the FDA.

The authority has drawn the attention of the general public to sections 99 and 118 of the Public Health Act, Act 851 of 2012, which prohibits the importation of unregistered food, drugs, cosmetics, household chemical substances, medical devices, tobacco and substances of abuse.

In consideration of the reduction by the Authority of registration fees by 80-90 percent since the beginning of last year, the CEO has urged the business community to endeavour to comply with the registration requirements.

In relation to enforcement, the FDA is collaborating with GRA Customs and the Ghana Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS) to provide protection for importers whose registration numbers might be used by other importers to process permits for approval.

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The authority’s Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) certification initiative which focused on the food industry last year, and targeted 500 enterprises, 56 have so far received certification. The authority indicates that in 2021, the PLS certification mechanism will be extended to the local cosmetics industry.

The FDA seeks to collaborate with consumers as well as importers and manufacturers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the overall achievement of its set goals and objectives. Indeed, the Authority is focused on facilitating the receipt of feedback, comments and recommendations from all stakeholders in order to build mutual confidence and deliver on its mandate

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