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  • Virtual Launch of the Med Safety Mobile App for Reporting Adverse Drug Reactions and Adverse Events Following immunization in Sierra Leone. 21/11/2021

    The Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone (PBSL) on the 21st. November 2022 launched the Med Safety App for reporting adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and adverse events following immunization in Sierra Leone. The virtual launch brought officials from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation International partners from World Health Organisation (WHO) Geneva Medicine and Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) Paul Erhlich Institut Germany Uppsala Monitoring Center Sweden WHO Country Representative Health Care Professionals from within and out of the country. Representatives made brief statements from these Institutions and the launch which climaxed the event.

    The Chairman of the event Dr. Onome Thomas Abiri  (Head of  Clinical Trials and Pharmacovigilance) in his opening statement outlined the progress made so far in setting up The National Pharmacovigilance Center in Sierra Leone and how the Agency became an associate member of the International Drug Safety Programme in 2005 and full membership in 2007. He stated that the Paul Erhlich Institut (PEI) in Germany has been of tremendous support to the Agency since 2017. They were able to do thorough assessments and identified gaps referred to in the  IDPs. One of the gaps identified by PEI were issues around underreporting and lack of a robust on-line system that supports data risk assessment and signal detection. In his concluding statement he mentioned already existing reporting tools for ADR and AEFI some of which are paper-based as well as an online platform  e.g. ODK in collaboration with the Expanded Programme on Immunisation.

    Representatives from the International Partners were given the opportunity to make a 5min statements.

    UPPSALA Monitoring Centre. ‘The UMC Medsafety App is far more accurate and efficient in reporting ADR and AEFI. The App would assist the Agency in generating more adverse events reports in the journey of Pharmacovigilance’.

    United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency: ‘We believe the app will make it easier for health care professionals and the general public to report problems with their medicines to the PBSL. This Med Safety App is now used in many countries in the World and MHRA has contributed greatly to get the App to this level. MHRA also believe that consumer reporting would contribute to the total number of ADR reports  to be generated.’

    Paul Erhlich Institut (PEI): ‘Paul Erlich Institute collaborates with the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone through its Global Health Protection Project. PEI is quite convinced that PBSL would reach Maturity Level 3 through our collective engagements. The Med Safety App would bring out high quality reports on adverse events.’

    Demonstration of the MedSafety App’s features was carried out and the basic steps to download the App are; (1) Open the play store (Android) or the App store (2) Search for ‘Med Safety’ (3) Tap the  Med Safety’ icon (4) Tap to ‘Install’ to the download the App (5) Tap ‘Open’ (6) Select a region in this case Sierra Leone. Sometimes it selects automatically depending on the settings you already have on your phone. (7)Click’ continue as guest’ or ‘create an account’. (8) Report side effects and quality issues of drugs.

    Launching of the App: The Head of Agency Dr James P. Komeh in the launch applauded the Department of Pharmacovigilance and Clinical Trials for their tremendous strive towards the Med Safety App and promised to support the department in the roll out of the App at regional level. He mentioned that the App is a faster way to report safety issues of medical products anywhere  and at any time with the use of  an android mobile phone.

    The newly launched Med Safety App is expected to improve the safety of medicinal products in Sierra Leone. The Med Safety Mobile App is designed to encourage reporting of harmful unexpected side effects of medicinal products by consumers patients and health care professionals. The app also provides users with safety information and allows them to create their own personal account. Currently adverse reaction reporting of medicinal products is carried out by using a paper-based reporting form and a web-based online link. The new Med Safety App will complement already existing ADR reporting tools.

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rightly put access to safe effective quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all as a key health target to be achieved by 2030. In our ever-changing technologically driven world it is imperative that we explore quick easy and innovative ways to encourage the reporting of  side effects and other drug reactions. The Med Safety App initiative is part of efforts by WHO to support the PBSL to develop pioneering tools and strengthen capacity for monitoring and responding  safety issues associated with existing or new health products or technologies.

    Closing Remarks:In his closing remarks the Deputy Registrar of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone emphasized that this is the right step to consolidate the Pharmacy Board’s  position within the global regulatory community. ‘We’ve been reporting but we’ve been using paper base. With this app we are definitely going to be increasing the quantum.’ He called on all  to help in popularizing this app. ‘We are going to effectively harness the MedSafety App through sensitisation on the use of the App and trainings for health care providers.  Biggest thanks to the PVG Department for making this day a priceless process. Thank you very much for coming God Bless and have a blessed day.’