The National Pharmacovigilance stakeholders meeting is an annual meeting organized by the Directorate of Product Safety to engage stakeholders about the activities of the National Pharmacovigilance Centre and obtain feedback. This year, the 5th Annual National Pharmacovigilance Stakeholders’ meeting took place on May 4, 2022 at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala.
A total of 120 participants from various disciplines were received from across the country. These included Doctors, Directors of Regional Referral Hospital, Pharmacists, Clinical Officers, Manufacturers, Nurses, representatives from national programs, implementing partners and dignitaries from patient groups like CHAIN, HEPS and UAPO.
Purpose of Meeting:
- To provide feedback to stakeholders about the activities of the National Pharmacovigilance Centre and a report for the concluded year of pharmacovigilance
- To receive feedback from stakeholders about the Pharmacovigilance activities
- To welcome ideas and propositions on where to improve and also increase awareness.
- Award top performers of ADRs for individuals and top facilities.
The Director Product Safety and Acting manager PV presented the activities that had transpired at the centre in the concluded year in which they highlighted the success of the year and presented the plans for the new year.
This was followed by presentations from the stakeholders represented by Dr. Manzi Mbabazize Gerald of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital highlighting the achievements and progress from the recommendations of the previous meeting as shown below;
- Out of 21 Regional Centres, 12 have signed MoUs with NDA on Pharmacovigilance.
- 5 out of the 21 Regional Centres have reactivated MTC committees and appointed PV subcommittees and members.
- MTC meetings have been held in all regional Centres, to discuss PV and all the 21 regional Centres reported safety issues.
- Training and support supervision has been done in all regional Centres and other facilities in their catchment areas.
- None of the RRHs have a dedicated budget for pharmacovigilance currently.
- Only 4 out of the 21 centres submitted work plans and budgets to the NDA for Imprest from NDA.
- Absence of SOPs and records of PV activities
This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Eva Laker of Infectious Diseases Institute on a Quasi experimental study on use of toll free system for Adverse Events exporting by patients and clinicians. She highlighted the following;
- 48% of reporters over the toll free line felt they had helped contribute to the safety of drugs in Uganda.
- Many reporters had proposed recordable language in Luganda to reassure the reporters in case they get taken to voice mails.
The guest of honor, Dr. Charles Ayume the Chairperson Parliamentary Committee of Health highlighted the following;
- He noted a definite lack of information about pharmacovigilance.
- He inquired on how to improve on the sharing of information, noting this would come at a cost.
- He proposed making strong the pharmacovigilance message in medical schools but also as corporate social responsibility, information tailor made for outreaches, nursing schools, clinical schools etc.
- He reiterated frameworks and policies that protect patients. These include empowering the patient through patient charters, patients right bill, public health amendments bill being tabled as the laws to protect the public.
- He appreciated the channels that have been made available and convenient for reporting by patients including a toll free line, WhatsApp line, SMS.
- He noted however, that with all these put in place, some hospital staff are rude and less inspired to report ADRs. He emphasized that medical ethics would need to be instilled in the medical practitioners through training in schools and institutions and through corporate social responsibility by NDA in communities and health facilities.
- He emphasized the importance of visibility of NDA at the ports of entry all over the country with mini-labs at these ports. This was a follow up of a recommendation from 2013.
As stated above, one of the objectives of the stakeholders meeting was to recognize and award top performers via reporting of ADEs and top reporting facilities with plaques and a token of appreciation in form of money. This is done so as to motivate and inspire other reporters and facilities to also report.
The reporting categories and their subsequent winners are shown below;
- Joseph Owori of Infectious Diseases Institute was the overall top reporting health worker for 2020-2021
- John Lukoma of Mildmay Uganda, 1st runner up reporter
- Medard Arinaitwe of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital was the 2nd runner up reporter.
- Lauben Katugira of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital was the top AEFI reporter.
- Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital was the top reporting regional referral hospital.
- Villa Maria top reporting General Hospital
- Oli HC IV was awarded as the top reporting HC IV.
- Yerya was top reporting health centre III.
- Kasasa HC III was recognized as the top emerging reporting facility
- Grace Amuge was recognized for exceptional commitment to pharmacovigilance over the years as she has been tirelessly sending reports from the different health facilities that she has been to, the latest being Lyantonde General Hospital.
All awardees were given appreciation plaques and cheques.