By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
June 22 (Newshour.com.ng) – ECOWAS Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC), through the “Improvement of animal health and control of veterinary medicines” component of the Regional Support Project for Pastoralism in the Sahel (PRAPS), Phase 2 has organised a regional workshop on the operationalisation of the regional marketing authorisation system for veterinary medicines.
The regional workshop funded by the World Bank, held in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), would enable ECOWAS member States agree on an approach leading to a single, harmonised, and centralised system.
The workshop is necessitated by the need to enhance liberalisation of the veterinary medicines sector in the ECOWAS Member States which sometimes has negative consequences and revealed the need for regional intervention to regulate their marketing in the region and guarantee their quality.
The unified framework for marketing authorisation for veterinary medicines is not yet effective in all Member States, despite the various efforts undertaken, though the issue has been addressed for years within the UEMOA space, this is not yet the case for the other 7 non-UEMOA member States.
The three-day meeting was an opportunity for resource persons and members of the Regional Veterinary Committee (RVC) from the 15 ECOWAS Member States plus Mauritania and Chad, made up of Directors of Veterinary services and presidents of veterinary associations, to discuss practical arrangements to facilitate the operationalisation of the regional system.
For Technical Advisor, Mrs Fadiga Diarrassouba, who opened the workshop on behalf of the Ivorian Minister for Animal and Fisheries Resources, “the control of veterinary medicines is a vital concern, given the proliferation of substandard medicines, the uncontrolled development of informal drug distribution networks and the growth in antibiotic resistance, there is need for concerted action and a coordinated regional approach to curb the scourge, as most diseases are cross-border in nature”.
Her recommendation is in line with ECOWAS’s desire to be at the forefront of public health and public protection.
The ECOWAS Commission adopted several texts in November 2010, including the Regulation C/REG. 22/11/10 relating to community procedures for the management of veterinary medicinal products and Directive C/DIR.1/11/10 relating to veterinary pharmacy so as to harmonise national veterinary pharmaceutical regulations
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Director of RAHC, ECOWAS, Coordinator of the “Improvement of animal health and control of veterinary medicines” component of the PRAPS 2 regional project, Mr Savadogo Joseph, reechoed Mrs Fadiga’s remarks by pointing out that “most countries have legislation and regulations on veterinary medicinal products, which are insufficiently enforced.”
It is, therefore, necessary to envisage regional integration of animal health and welfare regulations, including the management of veterinary medicines, among ECOWAS member Countries”.
Specifically, the resource persons, the Directors of veterinary services and the presidents of the veterinary associations who attended the second meeting of the Regional Veterinary Committee among other things, reported on the implementation of the recommendations and action plan of the last Regional Veterinary Committee, reviewed the national legislative and regulatory texts governing the veterinary medicines sector, and the national marketing authorisation, management and quality control systems for veterinary medicines etc
The Regional Veterinary Committee (RVC) was set up by the ECOWAS Commission by Regulation C/Reg.23/11/10 and it brings together the Directors of Veterinary Services and the Presidents of the Veterinary Associations of ECOWAS Member States, to assist the ECOWAS Commission, through formulating technical opinions and recommendations, in the drafting of community texts and the harmonisation of legislation in the fields of aquatic and terrestrial animal health and welfare, food safety of animal origin, veterinary pharmacy, zoonoses and the veterinary profession, to achieve the community’s livestock farming objectives.