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Comparative Assessment of the National Pharmacovigilance Systems in East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania

Barry, A., Olsson, S., Minzi, O., Bienvenu, E., Makonnen, E., Kamuhabwa, A., Oluka, M., Guantai, A., Bergman, U., van Puijenbroek, E., Gurumurthy, P. & Aklillu, E., 9-Jan-2020, In : Drug Safety.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Abbie Barry
  • Sten Olsson
  • Omary Minzi
  • Emile Bienvenu
  • Eyasu Makonnen
  • Appolinary Kamuhabwa
  • Margaret Oluka
  • Anastasia Guantai
  • Ulf Bergman
  • Eugène van Puijenbroek
  • Parthasarathi Gurumurthy
  • Eleni Aklillu

INTRODUCTION: The increased access to medicinal products in Africa is not well-matched with the pharmacovigilance capacity to monitor drug safety. The objective of this study was to assess the functionality and identify the strengths and limitations of the national pharmacovigilance systems in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and compare these systems.

METHODS: Legal and statutory documents governing the pharmacovigilance systems of each participating country were examined by assessors prior to on-site review. The staff of the pharmacovigilance unit of the National Medicines Regulatory Authorities (NMRAs) were interviewed using the East African Community Harmonized Pharmacovigilance Indicators tool, supplemented with indicators from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Benchmarking Tool. Responses were recorded, and data were analyzed.

RESULTS: The pharmacovigilance systems were supported by law and regulations in line with international standards. Standard operating procedures for receiving, processing, and communicating suspected adverse event reports were in place, but reporting of suspected medicine-related harm from stakeholders was inadequate in all countries. The number of Individual Case Safety Reports (ICSRs) received by NMRAs in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania (mainland) were 35.0, 6.7, and 4.1 per million inhabitants, respectively, in the last calendar year. At the time of assessment, Rwanda did not have an operational system. Overall, ≤ 1% of the total number of health facilities per country submitted ICSRs. Only Kenya and Tanzania had a designated budget for pharmacovigilance activities and an electronic ICSR reporting system. The national pharmacovigilance systems in all four countries did not have access to data on drug utilization.

CONCLUSIONS: The national pharmacovigilance systems in the four East African countries have policy and legal frameworks defined by law and regulation to conduct pharmacovigilance activities. However, the four national pharmacovigilance systems are at different levels of capacity and performance with respect to conducting pharmacovigilance activities. Targeted interventions are needed to strengthen the pharmacovigilance systems to enable evidence-based decision making for patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug Safety
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9-Jan-2020
Externally publishedYes

ID: 112499635