The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has reassured the general public of the efficacy of face masks, hand sanitisers and other PPEs that it has approved for public use.
CEO of the Authority, Delese Mimi Darko, cautioned suppliers to ensure strict adherence to the approved standards for these products, adding, that random inspections will be carried out by the staff of the Authority as part of its market surveillance activities to ensure compliance.
She also urged the general public to observe the Covid-19 protocols of wearing face masks, regular hand washing and social distancing in the fight against the pandemic.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the FDA reduced its approval processing lead times and committed to working for longer hours resulting in the introduction of its 48-hour registration of low risk cosmetic products like sanitizers and other personal protection equipment (PPEs).
Indeed, statistics from the FDA revealed a sharp rise in approvals for cosmetic products from 98 products approved in 2018, to 1825 products approved in 2020.
This increase is as a result of the growth in the number of companies that began to produce sanitizers locally thereby contributing to increased employment opportunities.
Outlining key activities for 2021, Mrs Darko indicated that the Authority is working assiduously 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 its deployment and use.
The Authority’s Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) certification initiative which focused on the food industry last year, targeted 500 enterprises. Out of the target number, 56 SMEs being 11.2% have received certification in the ongoing process.
The Authority indicates that in 2021, the Scheme will be extended to the local cosmetics industry given the quick wins achieved from the PLS for the food industry.
The FDA anticipates that SMEs in these sectors will leverage on initiatives like government’s 1D1F programme and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) to expand their reach beyond our borders.
To further increase the number of registered products namely-food, drugs, cosmetics, household chemicals, medical devices etc on the market, the FDA as part of its plans for 2021, has reduced its registration fees by 80-90 percent since the beginning of last year.
Companies are therefore expected to take advantage of this window to comply with registration requirements.
The FDA also seeks to collaborate 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 illegally to process FDA registration requirements.
Additionally, the Authority reiterates that it will continue the ‘Take Back of Unwanted Medicine (TBUM) Project with the aim of taking or retrieving unused and expired medicines from consumers and dispose them safely as enshrined in the Public Health Act 2012, Act 851.
The scope of this project, according to Mrs Darko, is expected to be extended to other regions.
As part of efforts to win public confidence, the Authority has launched a customer survey platform, to obtain feedback from consumers and clients that will help in streamlining and improving on its service delivery system.