SAHPRA invests in capacity building with a focus on patient safety

Pretoria, 14 December 2023 -The South Africa Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), in collaboration with Pharmacometrics Africa and the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Witwatersrand, is responsive to the evolving and advancing healthcare technology innovation by developing relevant training for its staff, to keep up with these advances. The short course for Clinical Assessors developed for African Regulatory Agencies has a key focus on patient safety.

The development of the 12-week course does not only to address the critical skills gap in regulatory sciences on the African continent but is also addresses a critical aspect of patient safety during its face-to-face lesson on 14 December 2023. The course, accredited by the University of Witwatersrand, has now grown to involve more National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), industry, as well as patient specific organisations like the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa (NOFSA). Participants from NRAs included Ghana Food and Drugs Authority, Kenya’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Ethiopia’s Food and Drug Authority, SAHPRA, Tanzania’s Medicines and Medical Devices Authority, Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council, and the Medicines Control Agency of Zimbabwe.

“This course is steadily evolving to address healthcare challenges, not just in the area of the critical skills gap on the continent but to consciously and purposefully focus on our three pillars of safety, efficacy and quality to ensure that medicines meet the requisite standards to protect the health and well-being of the public. We are pleased that more NRAs have come on board and excited to collaborate with our various stakeholders and partners where we continue to pave the way for future success and growth on the continent,” indicates SAHPRA CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela.

“We have introduced several new components to this third iteration of our training program for clinical assessors working at African regulatory agencies. I am especially excited with this one that aims to facilitate candid dialogue among regulators, pharmaceutical industry players and academics in order to ultimately benefit patients with better therapeutic interventions, access and quality of care across the continent,” said Professor Colin Pillai, CEO of Pharmacometrics Africa.

Tereza Hough, CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa (NOFSA), was one of the presenters during the course, explains that “being a part of this clinical assessor course where I was able to share a patient perspective is showcasing how critical a patient’s experience is in terms of a medical impact like side effects, and availability of medications.”

“We, at the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of the Witwatersrand, are encouraged and very excited to continue this journey to support regulatory sciences vocational training in South Africa, and throughout the continent,” said Professor Yahya E. Choonara from Wits University.

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