The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and its Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Delese Mimi Darko, received national recognition for the significant efforts the Authority made towards the fight against COVID-19.
The Authority was awarded the Presidential Award of Honour for Distinguished Service while the CEO was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Volta.
In the award citation, the FDA was commended for providing regular and consistent communication as well as an enhanced regulatory regime that proffered sound scientific direction for drug utilization and performance of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commended the FDA for its outstanding contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He acknowledged the initiative of the Authority during the period when Ghana was faced with a shortage in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs), by leading the development of a national standard for locally manufactured face masks.
To ensure the adequate supply of key essentials to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Authority also instituted a 72-hour product approval process for “low risks” COVID-19 related products such as hand sanitizers.
This 72-hour product approval process helped to ensure a constant supply of quality sanitizers and face masks to the market to stem the tides of the pandemic while providing employment and sustaining livelihoods in society.
As part of the awards ceremony, President Akufo-Addo, recognized the dynamic leadership of Mrs. Darko, who is the first female CEO of the Authority.
He noted the leading role Mrs. Darko played on the continent as Chair of the WHO African Vaccines Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) and her extensive work with the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences Vaccine Safety Working Group.
Through the instrumentality of Mrs Darko, the Authority instituted the Joint COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Review Committee which worked tirelessly on the vaccine approval processes and related safety monitoring activities.
Several investigations and causality assessments on reported adverse effects were conducted and bi-weekly regulatory updates were churned out to provide the needed assurances to the nation on the approved vaccines.
Meanwhile, the Authority is receiving technical support from the GIZ and the European Union to build its capacity to deliver regulatory support for the manufacturing of mRNA vaccines in the country.
Currently, the WHO is considering the Authority for qualification to Maturity Level 4 which would make the Authority comparable to the FDA of any developed country.
With the construction of an ultra-modern molecular laboratory and a number of capacity building programmes for its staff in specialized areas, the Authority is well positioned to provide regulatory support for the manufacturing of vaccines in Ghana.
The awards conferred on the Authority and the CEO, therefore, come with greater opportunities for the FDA to continue to be the beacon in medicines regulation on the continent.
The FDA with support from its Governing Board is poised to work to achieve greater laurels in the years to come.