The Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA) started operation in 2018 and intends to be fully operational in 2020, reaching WHO maturity level 3 by 2023. As it works to achieve those goals, BoMRA recently took an important step towards securing two essential elements of a robust national pharmacovigilance programme – active stakeholder participation and a strong culture of reporting.
On 14 November 2019, BoMRA launched the Med Safety App at an event attended by 140 delegates, including 125 healthcare professionals. Among the featured guests were the Honourable Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape; CEO of BoMRA, Dr Stephen Ghanie; WHO representative, Ayako Fukushima; and the WHO local office representative, Kefentse Moakofi.
In his keynote address, the minister expressed the seriousness with which his ministry views medication errors and the harmful effects of medicines. He noted the recognised problem of ADR underreporting and commended BoMRA’s initiative in launching e-reporting to help healthcare professionals improve their reporting levels.
Following a remote presentation of e-reporting by UMC and expressions of support from MHRA and WHO, it was time for the official unveiling of the Med Safety App and e-reporting – flashing lights and a loud-bang signalling a new dawn on ADR reporting in Botswana.
With multiple stations set up to demonstrate the Med Safety App and e-reporting tools, the attendees got the opportunity to practise reporting using the platforms and ask questions. The response from participants was positive, and BoMRA was lauded for helping to reduce the time spent on paper-based reporting.
Since the launch, BoMRA has continued to build awareness and has extended training to 196 healthcare professionals across the country on pharmacovigilance and reporting platforms. By the start of February 2020, BoMRA had received 12 ADR reports – five from physicians and seven from pharmacists – via the Med Safety app.