Procures New Vehicle for Region-3 Inspectorate
Liberia’s National Regulatory Authority of Liberia, the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA), Managing Director, Pharmacist Keturah Smith-Chineh, has admonished staff assigned at the Gbarpolu, Bomi, and, Grand Cape Mount Counties (Region-3) detachment, to work robustly to discourage drugs peddling and also vigilantly ensure that pharmaceuticals do not enter the country through the land borders.
Madam Smith-Chineh made the remarks at program marking the official dedication of a refurbished LMHRA Region-3 office and turning over of a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser jeep to be used in that part of the country.
According to her, the latest move by management is part of efforts to decentralize the activities of the authority; thus urging the team to robustly manned the border against all illegal entry of medicines and health products.
Managing Director Smith-Chineh used the occasion to laud the Joint Security and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) as well as the local officials in the Western region of Liberia for the teamwork over the years, in assisting the LMHRA to effectively execute its mandate.
She also urged officials of the three counties and the public to join ranks with the LMHRA to create a massive awareness of the harm associated with the sale of medicines in buckets, open areas, and back bags.
Meanwhile, Managing Director Smith-Chineh has disclosed plans for authority in the coming months to begin the burning of expired medicines from health facilities and those confiscated in the regions beginning with Grand Cape Mount County with the meager resources the entity generates.
According to her, it is very expensive for the LMHRA to transport expiries from the various health facilities around the country to its incineration site in Margibi County; owing to budgetary constraints.
Making official remarks at the ceremony, Grand Cape Mount County Superintendent, Aaron Vincent commended the joint security and the LRA, for the collaboration accorded the LMHRA and further cautioned citizens’ not to buy medicines from those selling in the buckets and open areas.
He also ordered local officials and the security apparatus of Grand Cape Mount County to assist the authority by arresting anyone caught selling medication in the open and in buckets.
Similarly, Bomi County Superintendent, Adama Dolley, noted that the inefficiency of medicines is causing too many deaths, therefore illegal entry and sales of medicines should be discouraged.
In that light, he has given strict instruction to the LMHRA along with police of the county to arrest illegal sellers of medicines or pharmaceuticals in Bomi County.
Superintendent Dolley called on the three counties’ authorities to take bold steps in assisting the LMHRA to achieve its mandate in the interest of the citizens of that region.
However, he stressed the need for the LMHRA to continue creating awareness, and also provide adequate manpower in these counties to effectively combat drug peddling.
Also speaking, the Board Chairman of the Liberia Pharmacy Board (LPB), Dr. Joseph Weah, asserted that it is the responsibility of the pharmacy board to work along with the LMHRA to ensure that only train practitioners dispense drugs and further ensure that medicines provided to the citizenry are safe and effective.
For his part, the Head of the Joint Security at the Bo-water Side, Major Saxon Tamgbo, recalled how tough it was at first in establishing the LMHRA regional office in that part of the country, however, he pledged the security fullest support to the LMHRA.
According to him, they have worked with the LMHRA since their establishment to make several arrests of illegal pharmaceutical products from vehicles transporting from Bo Waterside to Sierra Leone.
“So, the joint security will continue to work with the team to inspect all pharmacies and health facilities as well as ensure the arrest of any illegal pharmaceuticals entering the country,” Major Tamgbo pledged.
Representing the Pharmacy Owners of Gbarpolu, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties, Cllr. Clarence Feikai emphasized the need for more manpower in region-3 cannot over-emphasized as the current workforce is less.
According to him, it is challenging to get the drug peddlers from the streets, however, he appreciated the LMHRA for establishing an office at Bo-waterside in Cape Mount which will help get rid of or minimize these drugs peddlers because they (drug peddlers) are pharmacy owners out of business.
Cllr. Fekai commended the management for procuring and assigning a new land cruiser jeep to the region for the smooth operations of their work.
In remarks also, the Chief Collector of LRA, Nicholas Doe, indicated that the revenue authority has been confiscating illegal medicines entering the borders prior to the establishment of the LMHRA office.
Mr. Doe vowed that the LRA, working with the LMHRA, will not allow any pharmaceuticals to pass through any of its land borders.
He further admonished the LMHRA to create more public awareness.
In separate remarks, the Township Commissioner of Bo-waterside, Miatta Kamara, and Tewor District Commissioner, Haji Jaleiba, noted that Government needs to put medicines in various hospitals and clinics, most especially the ones run the by Government of Liberia, because it will stop people from buying street medications. They cautioned their citizens not to buy from the street peddlers.