By Malen Ndow
The National Pharmaceutical Services under the Ministry of Health Tuesday validated the national medicine policy aimed to develop the country’s health sector, during a validation program held at Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health explained the responsibility of the medicine control agency as medicine regulator from importers, redistribution, and manufacturing.
According to him, the pharmacy council of the Gambia regulates the pharmacy profession in terms of personnel, adding regulatory bodies to ensure medicine distribution and rules are strictly controlled for circulation in the country.
World Health Organisation Country Rep, Dr. Desta Tiruneh commended the Ministry of Health for the validation policy, adding it shows a high level of commitment to the welfare of the Gambian people
“We are pleased that the country is working in this difficult period of the pandemic and developing a national medicine policy. This policy was developed in four years of pandemics across the world. The epidemic has disturbed the job system in the health system. Based on the lessons learned this policy is looking forward to Gambia’s health sector. It intends to create more excellent systems that can better cope,” he said.
According to him, like most African countries Gambia’s health care is not adequately financed by public funds.
“This has led to the financing of medicines and the whole supply change system adding that this coupled with other factors like limited efficiency in the procurement and distribution of essential medicines not always available at facilities,” he added.
Babanding Sabally, director of pharmaceutical health services described access to health care as a fundamental human right.
“However, access to health cannot be fulfilled without the availability of essential medicines. Therefore, this statement affirms that quality health care delivery is synonymous up to now with the pharmaceutical sector. A weak pharmaceutical sector cannot support a quality health delivery system.
“The regulation of access to medical products and technology is one of the 6 building blocks of the health system, alongside others HR, finance, and so on. It is also important for us to know that the second largest spending of the public health budget is medicines, physical products, and vaccines. Therefore, it’s important that we put emphasis on ensuring medicines and medical supply security if we want to attain quality health delivery,” he disclosed.