Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Wednesday, opened a training programme for local industries to help them meet local and international production standards.
The three-day programme, in collaboration with the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) for about 46 manufacturers, was part of the FDA’s mandate under the Public Health Act 2012, Act 851, to ensure public health and safety through the regulation of pharmaceuticals, biologics, herbals, food products, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemicals, tobacco and tobacco products, as well as safety monitoring.
Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, Chief Executive Officer, Food and Drugs Authority, said her outfit had over the years instituted several activities to enable it achieve its mandate and objectives, including the inspection and licensing of manufacturing facilities, registration of product, market surveillance activities and industrial support services.
She explained that inspection activities at the various manufacturing facilities of cosmetics and household chemical manufacturing industries over the years, had revealed a number of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) deficiencies, for both premises and quality management systems, necessitating the need for the training programme.
He thanked the Management of the GEA for the initiative and for funding the programme, which would enhance the quality of locally manufactured cosmetics and household chemical products and make them more competitive within the West African Sub-region and globally.
Mrs Darko stated that the FDA in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Export Promotion Authority and other stakeholders between November and December 2020, toured the entire country to create awareness on the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
She said during the tour, stakeholders encouraged local businesses to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their production capacities to enable them manufacture enough products for export within Africa under the AfCFTA agreement.
“It is important to note that with this golden opportunity for local industries, one’s business can only strive in export and even on the local market if they manufacture products that are of the right quality to meet both local and international standards,” she said.
She said Government and for that matter the FDA and GEA, strongly believed that such training programmes were very necessary to empower local companies to come out with products whose quality attributes could be compared with existing best ones on the market.
Mrs Darko however, acknowledged the great contributions made by local industries in the manufacturing of high quality soaps, hand sanitisers and other household cleaning chemicals, from the inception of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it had contributed largely to the country’s success in managing the disease and in keeping infections at bay.
She said the country would have been in a much terrible situation by now if those products were of sub-standard quality, saying “this should tell us that we all have a role to play when it comes to ensuring public health and safety”.
Mr Yaw Baffour Gyimah, the Senior Regulatory Officer at the Drug Industrial Support Department of the FDA, in a presentation on Good Manufacturing Practice requirements for cosmetic industries, said every production establishment must have registered licenses for both their premises and products from the FDA.
He gave other operational requirements as regular verification inspection by the FDA to ensure that their products met consistently applicable public health safety regulations requirement.
Mr Gyimah mentioned some of the observations made by the FDA during its inspection tour of some local manufacturing companies, as the lack of separate or dedicated rooms for production activities, because many were operating from their homes.
Most companies had no logical flow of processes, including the use of calibrated equipment approved by the FDA for accurate measurements, identifiable equipment and raw materials for production not being readily available or adequately identified, hence they could not be verified for quality, he said.
Mr Gyimah further mentioned non availability of good storage of raw materials, and the fact that there were no properly documented manufacturing formula for production, as a serious gap that must be addressed for sustainability and progress.
He encouraged the participants to take note of the findings of the FDA’s inspection team, and position themselves after the training to amend those gaps for improved production and services.