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Pharmacy Board trains healthcare workers

In line with the one month WHO communication campaign on substandard and falsified medicines, a team of regulators from the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone (PBSL) have trained twenty four (24) District Health management Teams (DHMTs) and engaged 4 radio stations on substandard and falsified medicines in Bo and Kenema respectively. The training took place on November 26 to the 29, 2020.

Communication Campaign Coordinator, who doubles as Enforcement Officer at PBSL, Pharm. Tamba Buffa said the training was informed by a report of a survey conducted by WHO, which was published in February 2020.

According to him, the report stated among other things, that about 10 percent of Sierra Leoneans still access medicines from unofficial sources like peddlers or hawkers.

He added that the training was designed for healthcare workers because they are the ones that interface directly with community people, especially those that take medications.

“It is our belief that since you are the primary recipients of this training and mostly the first point of call for the community people, you will be able to effectively cascade to them all that you are going to learn with respect to substandard and falsified medicines. In other words, we are training you to be masters on the detection of substandard and falsified medicines when you come across them,” he said.

Pharm. Buffa said they intend doing community engagements to spread the campaign on substandard and falsified medicines to hard-to-reach areas.

In each of the four radio discussions in Bo and Kenema, Head of Information and Communications Department at PBSL, Dr. Sahr Emmanuel Gbomor, explicitly defined substandard and falsified medicines and cited clear examples of both. He informed listeners that one of the ways to detect if drugs fall within the said categories was to observe if there is spelling or grammar mistakes on both the inner and outer packages.

Dr. Gbomor explained that if someone sees alteration on the batch number, manufacturer’s address or expiring date, it shows clearly that the medicine is falsified. He encouraged all and sundry to be extra vigilant in the fight against substandard and falsified medicines.

“For someone who does not read or write, the simple ways to detect substandard and falsified medicines are by smelling, touching or ordinary observation; for instance, if it has a bad odor that is different from the one you know; or if it is sticky and damped, it means it is also within the categories in question. If you notice any substandard or falsified medicine, please call pharmacy Board on 099-117-117,” he concluded.


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