advertisement

Economy

Kenya goes digital in stemming rising fake drugs

Some of the counterfeit drugs estimated to value over Sh5 million shillings netted within Nairobi go up in flames. An electronic reporting system, a suite of software applications for collection and processing of information on suspected adverse drug reactions and suspected poor quality medicinal products, has been launched in Kenya on Tuesday. PHOTO/ FILE
Some of the counterfeit drugs estimated to value over Sh5 million shillings netted within Nairobi go up in flames. An electronic reporting system, a suite of software applications for collection and processing of information on suspected adverse drug reactions and suspected poor quality medicinal products, has been launched in Kenya on Tuesday. PHOTO/ FILE 

An electronic reporting system, a suite of software applications for collection and processing of information on suspected adverse drug reactions and suspected poor quality medicinal products, has been launched in Kenya on Tuesday.

Known as the Kenya Pharmacovigilance Electronic Reporting System (PV-ERS), the system is being implemented by Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) and is the first of its kind in the world to be introduced by health care workers.

"It enables all consumers, health workers, pharmaceutical companies to electronically submit adverse drug reactions and poor quality medicinal drugs," Chief Pharmacists Dr. Kosgei Kipkerich told journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Kipkerich noted that the system consists of a web application and a set of downloadable applications for computers and hand held mobile devices.

The PV–ERS is user friendly and has been designed to ensure it is readily available and accessible to the users. "The system is environment friendly as it has replaced heavy paper work that earlier involved completion of pink and yellow forms, available everywhere and saves time on keying the data," Kipkerich added.

This is a major move away from paper and pen to the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Kenya has been awarded as the 98th membership to the World Health Organization (WHO) Programme for International Drug Monitoring.

The system is set to lend a hand in monitoring drug use in the country given that 60 per cent to 65 per cent of Kenya's drugs and imports are re-exported to the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA).

This move is set to improve patient care by detecting the dangerous drugs that could cause disease to them since Kenya imports 70 percent of the drugs and only produces 30 percent locally.

He said that Kenya has strengthened its post of entry across the country. "This is to help control entry of fake drugs into the country," Kipkerich said.

According to the Director of Medical Services Dr. Francis Kimani, patient safety is paramount since every medicine prescribed, dispensed or administered is expected to do good for patient consuming it.

"We all know that medicines may also harm patient due to sever unknown side effects hence calling for quick detection and management in counterfeiting and reducing harm," he noted.

Kimani said it is important that the medicine is of the right quantity, efficacy, safety and quality. The Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo said that with the existing 95 per cent of mobile phones in the country, citizens are expected to lead in reporting those selling expired drugs to the unsuspecting members of the public.

He said the system is due to contribute hugely towards the reduction of corruption in the medical fraternity since the information will be available in the open for the public.

Kimani called for the introduction of a tracking system that starts at the time that the drugs are imported in the country to where it is used finally as a way of reducing corruption and tempering with the drug quality.

According to the head department of pharmacovigilance Dr Jayesh Pandit, under the new system, 373 poor quality medicines have been reported by the nurses in various health facilities in the country

He revealed that online reporting is available through internet from all parts of the country and appealed to health care workers to report cases. (Xinhua)

advertisement