By Iyemah David
The West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), says a resolution on “the West African Herbal Pharmacopoeia (Volume 2)” has been adopted by the Assembly of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Health Ministers.
Prof. Stanley Okolo, the WAHO Director-General (DG), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday in Abuja.
A pharmacopoeia (from the obsolete typography pharmacopœia, meaning “drug-making”), is a book containing directions for the identification of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.
According to Okolo, the document provides authoritative and quality standards for 30 monographs of medicinal plants as well as a scientific basis for quality control of the production and marketing of the 30 medicinal plants.
“Adoption of the West African Herbal Pharmacopoeia (Volume 2) aims to facilitate its use by Regulatory Authorities, manufacturers of herbal medicines, Traditional Medicine Practitioners, consumers and other relevant stakeholders to promote rational use of these medicinal plants in the ECOWAS Member region.
“It also advocates support from technical and financial partners for WAHO’s efforts to produce other volumes of the West African Herbal Pharmacopoeia to cover other disease conditions,” he said.
He said that the statutory documents for the operationalization of the ECOWAS Regional Medicines Agency, including ECOWAS Regional Pharmaceutical Policy, Governance Document to manage the ECOWAS Medicines Agency (ECOMA), Regulation on Procedures for the Approval of Medicinal Products for Human Use and Legislation on the Operating Procedures were developed and adopted by the Assembly of ECOWAS Health Ministers.
“An essential medicines and vaccines platform established to help monitor the stock levels of medical and vaccine products in member countries was also adopted,”he said, indicating that this will address critical situations relating to outstocking and overstocking in ECOWAS countries.”
It will also help to communicate vaccine, immunization, and epidemic emergency situations, and help in mapping and commenting on the capacities of the various health production units.
The WAHO DG said that a common procedural model for granting medicines market authorization (MA) in line with the Regional Joint Medicine Procedure was also developed.
Under this arrangement, six (6) National Medicine Quality Control Laboratories (NMQCLs), will be financially supported towards getting accredited (WHO & ISO 17025 certification).
“Some 22 Medical Products dossiers for regional harmonized registration with five product dossiers were approved for regional use.
“Technical support will be provided to Member States to develop and submit their National Deployment and Vaccination Plans (NDVPs) to benefit vaccines from the COVAX Facility,” he said.
According to Okolo, a vaccine task force was set up and its first meeting was held in February 2021; 54 health staff were trained in vaccinology. Joint Medicine Registration Harmonization and Joint Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) inspections of manufacturing sites were also carried out.
“It strengthened collaboration between Traditional Medicine Practitioners and Conventional Medicine Practitioners; established the advisory committee of traditional medicine practitioners,” he said.
Okolo said this will promote research and development of Traditional Medicine products through the advisory committee set up in 2021.