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PBSL highlights vehicle challenge as major hindrance to its operations

October 7, 2020

By Frederick V. Kanneh

The Acting Registrar of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, Dr. James P. Komeh, has said during the 2021 Financial Year Policy Hearing and Bilateral Budget Discussion that one of the major challenges that has served as a deterrent to the effective operations of the agency was the unavailability of vehicles.

Dr. Komeh made this statement while presenting the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone’s 2021 financial year budget to the budget committee and stakeholders at the Ministry of Finance conference hall at George Street.

In his presentation, he highlighted that, “As a regulatory agency,   vehicles serve as a significant tool in the execution of almost all of its constitutional mandates including but not limited to suitability inspections before granting licenses for the establishment of pharmacy, drug store or patent shop, inspection of all pharmacy outlets, peddler raids, monitoring to ensure compliance within and outside the city, including many other administrative activities. However, it will interest you to note that the only operational vehicle that the agency can boast of is a six- year old land cruiser, which has spent more time in the garage than on duty”.

Dr. Komeh compared regulatory agencies to that of football clubs, wherein the general public are only interested in winning rather than the challenges the clubs contend with, adding that there are people for instance, who are always ready to put PBSL on the firing line over drug peddling without any interest or effort to know the challenges that it is faced with.

 He continued by highlighting that he understands that no one will be of the view that an agency like Pharmacy Board will be constrained with vehicles, but that is exactly the current situation. He added that even though the Board strategizes to carry out some of its activities, the challenges need not be overemphasized.

He, however, told the Finance Ministry that his agency would appreciate if the budget committee would use part of its 2021 yearly allocation to procure operational vehicles for the Pharmacy Board.

Stating other challenges of the Pharmacy Board, Dr. Komeh, mentioned that the current punitive and preventive measures in the legislation was weak and some provisions were inadequate to meet current regulatory requirements. In addition the inadequate political and stakeholders collaboration to support effective medicines regulation is one of the key challenges to the functioning of the Board.

In conclusion, the minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie, noted that there is no way PBSL would carry out its constitutional mandates with all the above challenges, and urged the Finance Ministry to see the need to approve its 2021 financial year budget.