A centre to train workers in the pharmaceutical industry and laboratories, as well as students from pharmaceutical institutions, has opened in Accra.
The centre, known as the Centre for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT), is an initiative of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).
It is expected to provide an integrated platform for training, testing and consulting services and is a collaboration between the US company and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
It will train health personnel in areas such as basic laboratory techniques and good laboratory practices, good manufacturing practices, dossier assessment and registration of medicines, preventive maintenance and qualification of laboratory equipment.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, said the centre had come at a time when the country was focusing on local production as a tool for increasing access to pharmaceutical products.
She added that counterfeit and substandard pharmaceuticals was a serious problem across the globe but capacity to deal with the problem was limited, as it was becoming more sophisticated, particularly in the vulnerable markets in West Africa.
Ms Ayittey, therefore, urged the authorities of CePAT to strengthen its relationship with the FDA and other regulatory agencies in the West African sub-region to support and strengthen the quality assurance systems.
“I urge local manufacturers to take seriously the training opportunities that will come their way to improve their performance of producing good quality and safe medicine for use in the country,” she added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the USP, Dr Roger L. Williams, said improving public health was essential to the situation where resources and infrastructure were limited.
He said that was particularly necessary, as substandard and counterfeit medicines posed a formidable obstacle to the success of development programmes.
The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, commended USP for showing interest in the development of pharmaceutical businesses in Africa and the protection of public health.
Story: Jennifer Ansah