An annual meeting is held to discuss current topics of interest, develop annual workplans, discuss results of activities performed, and welcome any new members. The photo above is from the Third Annual Meeting held in Accra, Ghana in December 2013.
Inter Laboratory Testing (ILT)
In order to continuously strengthen the performance and technical skills of their staff, the OMCLs take part in an annual inter-laboratory proficiency test. Member countries select a particular product to test based on epidemiological data, current product quality issues, and potential monograph issues. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) provides the sample and Reference Standard relevant to the USP monograph that will be used in the testing.
Each participating OMCL provides a complete report on its testing to USP’s Global Health Impact Programs (GHIP). The GHIP staff analyze the results and provide pertinent, useful feedback that member countries can put into operation to strengthen their current laboratory practices. This feedback will also be used to bridge the gap in technical proficiencies between experienced and emerging laboratories.
In 2014, the members completed a round of ILT on Dissolutions of Artemether and Lumefantrine (Coartem) Tablets.
A key aspect of the network is to improve communications between and among member laboratories as well as to strengthen south-south technical collaborations. In addition, laboratories with recognized expertise in specific types of analyses can be used as outsource organizations for any laboratory that may not yet be proficient in that area.
The network also offers the opportunity to address a common concern facing regulators—the lack of information-sharing among countries about quality issues surrounding substandard and counterfeit medicines. NOMCoL-Africa provides a forum for information-sharing, in particular about the quality attributes of a product. This can provide valuable information to an OMCL to help prioritize the products it is testing.
In 2010, a training of scientists on Quine Sulfate Tablets monograph was completed in Bamako, Mali.
In 2011, training on select Quality Control modules was completed in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2013, training on Laboratory Management Principles, was completed in Accra, Ghana
The Fourth Annual Meeting will be co-hosted by EFMHACA, Ethiopia and held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dates to be announced shortly.