By Abolaji Adebayo
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) plans to use traceability with GS1 Technology to monitor COVID-19 vaccine distribution, using Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said.
Adeyeye told newsmen at a virtual media briefing on Friday that the goal of using GS1 Technology was to prevent fake vaccines from infiltrating the supply chain and to ensure there was no diversion.
She said: “This effort will create a reliable and predictable supply chain.
“A multi-stakeholder technical working group has been meeting to address different issues, from access to distribution to traceability (track and trace) of the vaccines to the monitoring of adverse events following immunisation.”
According to her, NAFDAC is working with other organisations at the continental level to enhance surveillance on vaccines and drugs on the continent.
She explained that the agency was also on the Regulators Steering Committee of African Union -3S (Smart, Safety Surveillance) with Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia.
“The Steering Committee is collaborating with the UK Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) through funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The composition of Nigeria’s working group (a regulatory officer from NAFDAC and an officer from NPHCDA) was used as a template for the AU-3S which the three other African regulators have adopted.
“The active pharmacovigilance that will be carried out will be used to harness data in MHRA database for detection of signals, understanding of demographic differences and others.”
In addition, she said the purpose of forming the committee was to use COVID-19 vaccines distribution and immunisation as a pilot to actively monitor the distribution (with track and trace) delivery.
“Also, monitoring of Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFIs) of the vaccines at the continental level with the ultimate goal to create an African-based vigilance System for the safety of medicines.
“As an outcome of the Regulators Steering Committee of African Union-3S, a National training of trainers has been scheduled by MHRA to improve the capacity of key staff of NAFDAC and NPHCDA on the data collection overview and information,’’ she said.
According to her, 120 slots for the participants are allocated to each of the four countries.
“NPHCDA provided 80 names to ensure that a wide number of their Agency staff and partners understand the data collection overview and information required for the COVID-19 safety surveillance while NAFDAC provided 40 names”.
“NAFDAC is collaborating with sister agencies and partners; NAFDAC initiated a multi-stakeholder collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), UNICEF, WHO and Ministry of Health.
“The focus is to use a holistic approach for the effective immunisation or delivery of the vaccines and monitor any AEFI.
“The agency will also use its recently launched Med Safety App for Active Pharmacovigilance of the vaccines in collaboration with the sister agencies.
“The App is free, and millions of healthcare workers can download it free for ADR reporting. In-country training on the use of the App has begun for the healthcare givers,’’ the NAFDAC D-G disclosed.