Food, Medicine Authority to Decentralise for Efficiency

The Authority will focus on regulating products leaving services to other agencies

The government ponders to re-establish the federal authority, which regulates foods and health-related institutions and professionals, to tune its focus on regulating products leaving health centres and professionals to other federal and regional entities.

A new bill, which will restructure the Ethiopian Food, Medicine & Health Care Administration & Control Authority (FMHACA), was tabled to the Council of Ministers (CoM) for approval and endorsement by the parliament for legislation. The bill proposed to restructure FMHACA into Food & Drug Authority (FDA), which will only regulate food, medicine, tobacco, cosmetics, processed foods and medical devices.

The current Authority is mandated to ensure the quality, safety and efficency of health and health-related institutions, healthcare practice, and competence and ethics of health professionals. It also registers, licenses and inspects health professionals, pharmacies, food establishments, and health institutions. The new structure will decentralise all these responsibilities to the ministries of Health and Science & Technology as well as regional health bureaus -based on the relevance of the duties. The new Authority will reserve the current seven branch offices located in regions of the country.

The re-establishment was initiated two years ago by the Authority as its responsibilities were bulk, according to Keyredin Redi (PhD), deputy general director of Customer Service Management of FMHACA.

“The restructuring will make the Authority focus on handling and rendering regulatory services on products efficiently,” said Keyredin.

Two years back, the Authority undertook a study to restructure based on the experiences of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The organisational assessment was conducted with financial assistance from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) through a bilateral agreement.

“The country’s new direction in expanding agro-processing and pharmaceutical industrial parks has also triggered the restructure,” a source close to the case told Fortune.

Ethiopia plans to construct 17 integrated agro-industrial parks across the regions. And it has already commenced the construction of four integrated agro-industrial parks in Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regional states. The government is also constructing the Kilinto Pharmaceutical Industrial Park.

Before reaching the CoM, the draft proclamation, which will repeal the existing proclamation, was sent to the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Attorney General for review and amendments.

“The draft is expected to be legislated before July 7 and come into effect in the next fiscal year,” said Keyredin. “The existing political condition of the country and the reshuffle of ministers was also a factor for the delay.”

Dereje Zeleke (PhD), a lecturer at the Addis Abeba University’s School of Law applauds the proposal.

“Having a vibrant and functional regulatory body is vital, and restructuring the Authority is a step in that direction,” Dereje says. “Merely ratifying a proclamation will not address challenges though unless human resource and capital are improved.”

The Authority used to formerly be known as Drug Administration & Control Authority (DACA) after an establishment proclamation that came into effect in June 1999.

Over two months ago, the Authority issued a new system of food inspection where every single shipment was subject to laboratory tests, even if the imports have the same manufactures or similar ingredients, which faced criticism from importers.



Published on Jun 16,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 946]



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