Addis Ababa host first African GS1 healthcare conference

Addis Ababa host first African GS1 healthcare conference


Healthcare regulators from all over the world join international organisations to discuss fighting the spread of fake drugs and the need to secure the healthcare supply chain in Africa.

The conference is organized by GS1, the global supply chain standards organisation, in partnership with the Ethiopian Food, Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority (EFMHACA).

The Track and trace for access to safe medicines conference welcomes over 150 regulatory bodies and international organisations and more than 340 participants in total from 8 to 10 May 2018 in Addis Ababa.

The presence of falsified medication is a huge threat to patient safety, especially in Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10% of medication distributed in low and middle-income countries could be falsified.

Falsified medicines negatively impact patient safety, might lead to loss of lives, will have economic impact and will result in less trust in the healthcare system. Furthermore, about 100,000 deaths/ year in Africa can be linked to counterfeit drug trade. This is because there are many inefficiencies in the

African pharmaceutical supply chain such as:
  • Gaps in forecasting and distribution that result in limited availability of key pharmaceuticals in hospital;
  • Long procurement lead times;
  • Inaccuracies in record-keeping;
  • Issues with the quality of forecasting data;
  • Absence of timely requisition and consumption reporting;
  • No real-time stock status information at a national level;
  • Wastage due to expiry and damage;
  • Theft;
  • An inefficient recall process.

The conference is the first GS1 Healthcare conference organised in the African region. It is an important step, not only for raising awareness on falsified medicines reaching patients across the African region but also for explaining how standards are used to identify pharmaceuticals and to improve traceability throughout the supply chain to prevent the falsification of medicines.
Ulrike Kreysa, Senior Vice-President Healthcare at GS1, said: “GS1 Standards and barcodes are tools that can help all supply chain partners, to ensure that patients receive effective and safe medicines“.
Yehulu Denekew, Director General at EFMHACHA, said:’’ Ensuring the quality and safety of pharmaceuticals requires utilization of appropriate standards, most importantly the Global Standard, and that is why Ethiopia is starting to implement GS1’’.