Accra is the focus of attention for the world of medicines and medicine safety, as the country hosts two major drug safety meetings.
The country will play host to the 33rd Annual Meeting of Countries participating in the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring and the 10th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP).
Both meetings are being attended by leading experts on drug safety in the world – from Africa, the US, the European Union, Australasia and Asia.
A statement issued in Accra by ISoP in Accra, said the WHO meeting takes place from October 31 to October November 3, whilst the ISoP meeting takes place from November 3 to November to 6.
There will be a joint WHO-ISoP meeting on the afternoon of November 3, which would be addressed by the Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama.
This is the first time that major global drug safety events are being held in sub-Saharan Africa and the choice of Ghana reflects the increasing stature attained by the country in Global Drug Safety.
In November 2009, the WHO established a Collaborating Centre for Drug Safety at the University of Ghana Medical School and the WHO Collaborating Centre in Uppsala, Sweden has also established an office in Accra.
The WHO is a normative agency for all countries whilst ISoP is a scientific organisation that aims to foster global drug safety and enhance all aspects concerning the proper use of medicines. ISoP is a non-profit global drug safety organisation with membership in all the five continents.
More than 500 participants representing pharmacovigilance professionals from across the globe will attend the meeting on the theme: “Pharmacovigilance in the Global Village.”
The meeting will seek to examine pharmacovigilance practices across the globe with a view to sharing best practices, highlighting common challenges and developing broad principles for dealing with them.
Dr Alexander Dodoo, President of ISoP said the theme is relevant considering the increasing incidence of fake medicines and concerns about drug safety worldwide.
He said the meeting constitutes the largest gathering of Pharmacovigilance professionals with a unique platform to share information on patient safety and related pharmacovigilance topics such as “signal detection, safety of vaccines, regulatory update and risk management.”
This is in addition to new hot topics including “ecopharmacovigilance and forensic pharmacovigilance as well as medication errors and risk communication, which are not well covered in other pharmacovigilance meetings.”
The meeting, he said, “will be rounded off with a day and a half of training provided by internationally recognised experts covering the basics of pharmacovigilance, risk management, creating safety culture, vaccine safety and safety in clinical trials”.
Brian Edwards, Chair, of ISoP’s Scientific Committee, explains that at ISoP meetings “all participants act as equals and this offers a great opportunity for students to rub shoulders with experienced academics and regulators.
“The emphasis on social networking is as important as scientific quality because the Annual Meeting is the place to bounce an eclectic mix of new ideas around and think creatively.”
“We hope that the thirst for scientific knowledge will be quenched in Accra at this year’s Annual Meeting,” he said.
Ms Delese Mimi Darko, Chair, of the Local Organising Committee said: “All is set for a great meeting,” adding that “this year, ISoP is trying something new with a scientific session completely in French.” she said.
“Three sessions have been allocated to the South American, North American and Western Pacific region chapters of ISoP.”
“As well as oral abstract presenters, there will be an opportunity to hear about what’s new and challenging in the regions covered by these chapters,” she noted.
She said an exciting and memorable social programme has been lined up for participants, including a complimentary Gala and Dinner Dance, and a tour of parts of the country to sample the legendry traditional Ghanaian hospitality.
ISoP is an international non-profit scientific organisation, which aims to foster Pharmacovigilance scientifically and educationally, and enhance all aspects of the safe and proper use of medicines globally.
In addition to its annual meetings it also holds Spring training courses on basic and advanced pharmacovigilance.
Its members are drawn from industry, academia and national drug regulatory agencies from 56 countries and in all the five continents.