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"Guard The Name Of This Institution Jealously" - FDA CEO Charges Staff (PICS)

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko has charged staff of the institution to strive hard and guard its name jealously.


The CEO made these remarks while speaking at the 2022 Thanksgiving Carols and Staff Awards Service held at its headoffice in Accra.


Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Darko said "We retain our steadfast devotion to our core values of Integrity, Accountability and Teamwork. Guard the name of this institution jealousy"


"At the beginning of the year, I emphasised this. Each one of us is responsible for the wellbeing of the people of this country – the health and safety of the public - not just by what you do but just as importantly by what you do not do. So every day when you are leaving work at the end of the day, ask yourself if you have done your everything to enable us to achieve our mandate and boldly say our tagline"


"Next year we have by God’s grace got new promising leads and support on how to make our salary conditions better and to be more liquid to provide needed logistics for better work environment. And my Board Chairman/committee members are here - we will do everything to chase these to a successful end"


"Secondly, I doff my hat to you the staff of this Authority, for your performance, innovation, flexibility, adaptability …. It’s been a tough post-covid year for all of you and I’ll like to express my sincere and tremendous gratitude for hard work and dedication of each one of you in every region"


She added that sacrifices made by staff amidst these harsh economic conditions, when for instance, despite the impact of increased fuel prices on transportation costs, staff showed up daily at work with optimism and hope; FDA could not have come thus far.

 

The CEO added that for the second year running, the institution has focused its effort on winning public confidence through Integrity, Accountability and Teamwork.


She stressed that these core values of the Authority have not only shaped thework culture but underpinned the success that it has achieved in 2022.


Madam Darko added that despite the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA mainstreamed some of the COVID- 19 measures such as online meetings, risk-based product registration, risk-based scheduling of inspections among others, to sustain operational efficiency.


"Like many other institutions, the FDA has not been spared the effect of the global economic crisis on our operational costs and plans.  However, in the face of these uncertainties, we continued to grow and expand our capabilities to serve our clients, build our systems and processes, and invest in our staff. Staying our course and achieving our targets is precisely because we responded appropriately to these challenges.

Our client services nationwide continues to improve timely and reliable support, giving our clients and stakeholders the positive experience improving the quality of applications they submit to the FDA"

 

She stressed that the challenges have inspired FDA to innovative ways of protecting public safety.


"The Centre for Import and Export Control continues to expand its scope. To curtail the unauthorised importation of regulated products using courier services, FDA now has permanent presence at the courier centres for DHL and FedEx at the KIA, and in January 2023 we will operationalise a permanent presence at the Ghana Post Head Office in Accra"


She also announced that the FDA has secured a post for permanent presence at the KIA Terminal 3 arrival concourse for inspection of personal luggage for regulated products.


This she mentioned, will be operationalised in 2023 after security background checks and subsequent training of FDA officers are completed.  

 

"One area of focus this year has been the establishment of new regional and district offices of the Authority. Investments have been made in all regions to ensure appropriate delivery by both regional and district offices"


"To this end, I am happy to announce that the Western North Regional Office in Sefwi Wiawso has also been operationalised as the first of the new six (6) regions recently created. As and when office accommodation becomes available, the Authority will open offices in the remaining five (5) regions"


"Two district offices have been operationalised in the Central Region. The first, at Kasoa in the Ewutu Senya East District and the second, at Assin Fosu in Assin Central District.

In the Eastern Region, the Business Advisory Centre at Kade has offered FDA office space to be operationalised in 2023 as an FDA district office"

 

"The Centre for Laboratory Services and Research continues to blaze the trail. In 2022, the Centre increased the scope of ISO/IEC17025:2017 accredited tests from 48 to 58 and the food laboratory was accredited for the first time with 5 parameters. The Centre’s remains the Laboratory with largest scope of accredited tests under one roof in Africa. Its Drugs Laboratory was in August awarded WHO-Prequalified Quality Control Laboratory Status, the first lab in West/Central Africa to achieve this feat"


"Our strategic collaboration and international partnership have a strong showing this year, with more than 85 collaborators and partners in engaging with the FDA. Some of our new collaborators include Ghana Exim Bank, Fidelity Bank, Mastercard Foundation Ghana, Public and Private Research and Academic Institutions and Association of Food and Drugs Officials based in the USA. This is what I call innovation. Well done Kwame and team"


Madam Darko hinted that FDA's Progressive Licensing Scheme is just growing and the envy of many agencies.


"To date we have licensed 1511 facilities and 2780 products, all these owners having received technical assistance from our industrial support directorate through capacity building opportunities and specialized registration from the various registration directorates. Kudos to all involved. You’ve done marvelously to support the industrialization agenda of the President and government. This is the only way we can long term transform the economy of this nation"


She disclosed that the system for the FDA-GSA joint application has been operationalised with the receipt of first ten (10) product applications.


These applications, she added have been registered and the requisite information shared with GSA through a file exchange system developed by IMTS Department of the FDA.


"The Joint Application System has shortened considerably the time required to secure FDA registration and GSA certification.

The FDA in collaboration with ProPer Alliance, has launched the ProPerSeals Platform which will support the new Intelligence/investigation Directorates in its activities"


"At the continental level, the FDA continues to distinguish itself as a regulatory capacity strengthening hub. This year we have trained regulators from across the continent in clinical trials oversight, and pharmacovigilance. Notable among these is the delivery of the first Advanced Clinical Trial Fellowship Training, in collaboration with the School of Public Health, University of Ghana. We also supported Nigeria, South Africa and more recently Rwanda in their preparation for their formal WHO benchmarking for Maturity Level 3 through capacity strengthening programmes such as training courses, assisted self-benchmarking and study tours at the FDA. We share in the joy of their success Nigeria and South Africa and look forward to Rwanda’s knowing that our support was worthwhile.

The great strides that the Authority has made in protecting public health and safety this year have not gone unnoticed"


AWARDS RECEIVED

"This year we received a phenomenal Fifteen (15) awards; we could have been winning more than one every month; a mind-blowing testament of our achievements for 2022. The awards include the Most Financially Sustainable Regulator and the Best Inter-Trading Specified Entity at the maiden Public Enterprise League Table Awards organized by the Ministry of Public Enterprises, SIGA and the Ministry of Finance,

1. Industry Leadership Award, at the Ghana -West Africa Healthcare Excellence Awards 2022 by Unique Communications"


The CEO told the gathering that the Centre for Laboratory Services and Research was awarded the Best Public Health Laboratory Centre for 2022.

"Corporate Communications Team of the Year (Government Regulations) at the 4th National Communications Awards by Africa Digitalization Impact Project & RAD Communications. Gold Label Seal of Good Standing in the Delivery of Customer Service and Consumer Relations Excellence Award at the Ghana Customer Service Excellence Recognition Scheme by National Customer Service Advocate, GLOBAL PLUS CO. LTD & Ghana Customer Service Development Initiative"


FOCUSING ON 2023

"As we move into a new year, there will be challenges and maybe storms. The only thing that is constant is change and our only constant is God. Be open to change. For whatever reason you FEEL you are being posted/transferred once it is by my hand, murmur not. It will work out for your good.

And as I was told at the start of my career, regulation is dynamic"


"So, we must adapt, we will bring new ideas, please embrace them. We as Management are open to your innovations, please bring them. I am confident that we have the requisite skills, knowledge, and tenacity to overcome them. Indeed, it is our challenges that inspire us to innovate and adopt new ways of delivering on our mandate"


She reminded the staff that a successful business model needs to adapt continually to its operating environment, as such, starting January 2023, the Authority will commence flexi home-based work to ease the burden of transportation costs and promote operational efficiency.


ACHIEVEMENTS OF DIRECTORATES 

Enforcement Directorate

"Staff capacity strengthening in intelligence gathering and reporting has improved quality of intelligence reports and conduct of investigations. This resulted in several swoops to retrieve unregistered brands of Prostinor 2, Pro-cold and Aboniki ointment manufactured in Nigeria from the market. Eighty-Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Nine (80,729) units were retrieved and safely disposed-off"


Food Safety and Consumer Education Directorate

"The National Food Safety Policy was launched. A national food safety emergency response plan (FoSERP) was developed, and its Management Committee inaugurated. The use of Uber services for inspections of Food Service Establishments eliminated inspection backlogs and reduced client waiting time from 5 months to 2 weeks. Five Hundred and Ninety-Five (595) previously unknown facilities were identified and inspected increasing revenues through application fees and fines"


Food Registration and Applied Nutrition Directorate 

"Implementation of a conceptual framework to strengthen FDA’s collaboration with Research and Academic Institutions to facilitate research to influence policy and protect public health. This has been widely accepted by the research and academic community"

 

2022 Awards

Madam Darko noted that the FDA won 15 awards for the year 2022.


"Industry Leadership Award, at the Ghana -West Africa Healthcare Excellence Awards 2022 by Unique Communications, The Centre for Laboratory Services and Research was awarded the Best Public Health Laboratory Centre for 2022, Corporate Communications Team of the Year (Government Regulations) at the 4th National Communications Awards by Africa Digitalization Impact Project & RAD Communications, Gold Label Seal of Good Standing in the Delivery of Customer Service and Consumer Relations Excellence Award at the Ghana Customer Service Excellence Recognition Scheme by National Customer Service Advocate, GLOBAL PLUS CO. LTD & Ghana Customer Service Development Initiative and Customer Service Focused, Public Sector Institution for the year 2022 – 2023 at the Ghana Customer Service Excellence Recognition Scheme by National Customer Service Advocate, GLOBAL PLUS CO. LTD & Ghana Customer Service Development Initiative"


Other awards include; Excellence in Government Regulatory and Standards at the 2nd National Governance & Business Leadership Awards 2022, National Government Agency of the year at the National Business Honors, The Most Financially Sustainable Regulator and Best Inter-Trading Specified Entity at the maiden Public Enterprise League Table Awards by Ministry of Public Enterprises, State Interests and Governance Authority and Ministry of Finance, Exemplary Leadership Award under the Ghana-West Africa 2022 at the Healthcare Excellence Awards, National Business Shero of the year for the government agency under 2022 at the National Business Honours Awards, Best CEO of the year under the Ghana Medical Laboratory Excellence Awards 2022, Outstanding Public Leadership Award under the 2nd National Governance 2022 and Leadership Award, FDA listed as one of the 100 most influential Business Leadership personalities in Ghana 2022, Innovative CEO Award under the West Africa Young Leaders Awards 2022 and Public Sector Chief Executive Award under Public Sector Awards 2022.


The Food and Drugs Authority also rewarded three outstanding retirees for their selfless efforts.


The three are 1. Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng; Director, Centre for Import and Export Control, Thomas Amedzro; Director, Enforcement Directorate and Samuel Kwakye; Regional Head, FDA Eastern Regional Office.


Each received a citation and an undisclosed amount of money.


Some departments and individuals were also rewarded for their excellent performance in the year 2022.


Master Salifu Asigiri from the Inspectorate Department of the FDA was adjudged the Overall Best Staff for 2022.


He thanked the Leadership of FDA for rewarding his efforts and dedicated his award to his mentors.

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith


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