Lake zone TMDA’s lab to bolster quality of disinfectants, antiseptics

26Jan 2021
Devota Mwachang'a
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Lake zone TMDA’s lab to bolster quality of disinfectants, antiseptics

IN 2006, the Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) expanded its wings in the rock city of Mwanza by establishing zonal offices in a move aimed at improving services in the lake zone regions of Mwanza, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Mara, Geita, and Kagera.

The authority also works closely with the authorized country’s entry points such as Mutukula, Sirari, Rusumo, Kabanga, Mwanza lake port, and Mwanza airport.

As it is to the TMDA’s headquarters, the Lake zone office is tasked to do a number of activities such as carryout inspection of regulated products, respective premises, and ports of entry; issuing of business, import and export permits; post-marketing surveillance; handling customer complaints and feedback; and premises registration.

But, taking samples to TMDA’s Dar es Salaam laboratory, becomes hectic, the situation that made the authority establish a modern lab in Mwanza city, which is one of the centres of excellence for testing of disinfectants and antiseptics in Tanzania and the region at large.

The Mwanza laboratory according to TMDA’s lake zone manager, Sophia Mziray says the ultra-modern lab will be among the best in the African continent and intends to address various challenges including issues of quality of disinfectants and antiseptics.

Disinfectants are liquid chemical compounds designed to inactivate or kill harmful microorganisms on inanimate surfaces. Antiseptic is a chemical agent that inactivates microorganisms on external surfaces of the human body so that they do not enter the body and cause diseases.

“We are in the process of making the facility one of the largest, best, and most efficient laboratories for testing samples within the Southern African Development Community (SADC),” Mziray told a team of journalists who visited the lake zone-based laboratory to observe various activities conducted at the facility including testing, medical equipment, and reagents

She further notes that such improvements will go together with the provision of capacity building training for the staff and procurement of modern equipment to make it more efficient.

According to the official, all the preliminary preparations have been completed including documentation and feasibility study.  The facility will also carry out tests of medicines, medical devices and reagents from other neighboring regions. “This also serves money and time,” she stresses.

“The authority will also provide education to the public to increase their understanding on quality, safety, and effectiveness of the products.”

“We want the public to have a good understanding of the reagents and disinfectants because they are part of the regulators; they should be able to identify and report side effects to our offices,” she adds.

Mziray explains that the six regions in Lake Zone still face challenges in the control of medicine, reagent and medical devices importation, taking into accounts that most of the time medicines are imported through formal and informal borders, “but we’re working hard to end this endemic problem.”

The lake zone office requested municipal councils within the six regions—Geita, Mwanza, Shinyanga Kagera, Simiyu, and Mara to appoint inspectors who will collaborate with TMDA staff in fighting against illegal importation of the medicines and medical equipment.

Lameck Kapilya, a drug analyst from TMDA Lake Zone lab says: “In our laboratory, we have high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) which is used to measure the level of the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the drug being tested.”

Kapilya says the HPLC uses reference standards which are the active ingredients of a standard drug in comparison to the sample being studied whose standard is being sought to satisfy its quality. “That’s why we’re saying that our lab is one of the best in the east and central African region.”

TMDA Manager for Communication and Public Education, Gaudensia Simwanza the authority has a ‘stand-alone lab’ in Mwanza Region which has met the quality criteria recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Simwanza added that testing results provided from the lab are unquestionable.

The laboratory has received sample tests conducted in Germany and South Africa but the results were inconsistent, but the test results from TMDA laboratory became a solution,” she stressed.

Acting Head of Lake Zone Laboratory, Bugusu Nyamweru said the laboratory is responsible for analyzing various pharmaceutical products through its chemistry and microbiology laboratories.

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