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Proposal development on harmonization and strengthening of Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance systems in the EAC region: The first meeting Expert Working Group (EWG) of the Pharmacovigilance (PV) and Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) was conducted at the Imperial Royale Beach Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda on the 19 th to 23 rd January, 2015. The meeting was attended by the EWG members on PV and PMS representing the six EAC Partner States NMRAs, the National Medicines Regulation Officers, and the representatives from EAC Secretariat and the World Bank.

This was a five day meeting to develop a regional project proposal to harmonize and strengthen PV and PMS systems for medicines, Health Products and Technologies. The proposal aims at harmonizing and strengthening of Pharmacovigilance and Post-marketing Surveillance systems to promote safety, efficacy and quality of medicines, health products and technologies marketed in the EAC Region.

In his opening remarks, Mr John Patrick Mwesigye the Senior Health Officer, under EAC-MRH thanked all participants for attending the meeting and for their successful contribution to the review of the first draft proposal on harmonization and strengthening pharmacovigilance and post market surveillance of medicines, health products and technologies which aims at improving access to medicines of good quality, safety and efficacy in the EAC region.

“I take this opportunity to acknowledge the support extended to us from our development partners in EAC namely, World Health Organization (WHO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UK DFID) and the World Bank”, said Mr. John Patrick Mwesigye, Senior Health Officer, who was talking on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera.

“Like all other countries, the EAC region faces the problem of counterfeit and substandard medicines and that policies to ameliorate the situation should be developed recognizing the important role the collaboration among EAC Partner States would play in information sharing and capacity building in controlling counterfeit and substandard medicines”, noted Mr. Joseph Kabatende, Head of Pharmacy Task Force Ministry of Health, Rwanda