The Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ethiopia and the AIDSFree project held an event to officially launch a revamped Ethiopian Food and Drug Administration (EFDA) and to showcase how cutting edge technology introduced through USAID assistance is being used by EFDA to expand access to quality health services and products for all Ethiopians.
Federal Minister of Health Dr. Amir Aman, the Director-General Ethiopian Food and Drug Administration Ms. Heran Gerba, and the Deputy Director of USAID Ethiopia’s Health Office Ms. Sophia Brewer called on the assembled guests to celebrate both the launch of EFDA and of the new electronic Regulatory Information System (eRIS). EFDA replaces the previous Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) and has taken on the additional responsibilities of licensing health professionals and regulating and certifying health service delivery establishments.
The electronic Regulatory Information System (eRIS) launched at the event is an open source, locally-developed and maintained software system that ensures that EFDA can maintain an unbroken chain of information from licensing and registration to import and quality assurance. This means that EFDA can track medicines all the way from international (or local) suppliers to the ports, to the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Supply Agency’s (EPSA’s) warehouses and finally to each clinic across the country.
One of the pillars of the Ministry of Health’s strategy to transform the health sector is the “Information Revolution” which seeks to employ cutting-edge methods and practices for collecting, analyzing, presenting, and disseminating information that can influence decisions in the process of transforming the health sector. The healthcare supply chain that connects drug manufacturers to patients is dependent on agile systems to ensure medicines get to where they are needed when they are needed. The EFDA plays an essential role in this revolution and in ensuring that these facilities have the quality medicines and health products they need.
USAID and its partner John Snow Inc. (JSI) have been working with the Ministry of Health throughout the past 25 years to improve the health of Ethiopians. The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately USD $150 million per year in funding for HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; tuberculosis; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Overall, the United States has provided approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.