ARE WE READY TO OPEN UP?
The COVID-19 Standards and Conformity Assessment Activities in ARSO Member States
The COVID-19 Standards and Conformity Assessment Activities in ARSO Member States
Date: 30th June 2020 at 1430HRS to 1630HRS East African Time
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Presiding Moderator: Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General, African Organization for Standardization
- The African Traditional Medicine Guideline and Policy Document: African Traditional Medicine Interventions and the African (ARSO) Standards on COVID-19 – ARSO Central Secretariat/ Reuben Gisore, Technical Director, ARSO
- COVID-19 Standardisation Interventions – Sharing Experience in Personal Protective Equipment – Mr. Abderrahim TAIBI, Director of IMANOR – Morocco/IMANOR
- What are you doing today to get ready for the new normal?” – Intertek’s PROTEK Programme- an end-to-end health, safety and wellbeing assurance programme – Millicent Njuguna –Mwangi, Lead Auditor/Head of Audit East Africa at Intertek
- COVID-19 Standardisation Interventions – Sharing Experience in South Africa on How Standards Help in Opening Up of Schools – Dr Sadhvir Bissoon – Executive Standards – South Africa/SABS
- COVID-19 Standardisation Interventions – Sharing Experience in Cameroon on How Standards help in the Work Place – Francis Zibi Zibi from Cameroon/ANOR
- How to ensure the conformity of your PPE in COVID-19 times?” – Wesley AONDO, Head of Operations PVOC, COTECNA, Kenya.
- Summary and Way Forward: Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General, ARSO.
Rationale for the Webinar and Background Information
With the Covid-19 pandemic, declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO, intensifying globally, including in Africa and in the face of such an alarming situation that is exacting a heavy toll on countries’ health-care services and threatening the World Economy, including Africa, African leaders, under the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the International Community, under the WHO are putting in place, both short and long term Public Health strategies to mitigate the pandemic, which has brought with it a paradigm shift and a re-orientation from the traditional ways of global life styles, leading to Travel bans, Social distancing, Use of Protective Personal Equipment, Lockdowns, culminating into New ways of doing old things with new things replacing the old- “the New Norm”.
The WHO’s Regional Office for Africa in hosting a virtual ‘hackathon’ bringing together 100 leading innovators to pioneer creative local solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and to address critical gaps in the regional response, with proposals including the provision of Quality and Safe personal protective equipment (PPE). Already the African Traditional Medicine and Herbal solutions are being touted to provide solutions, for example the Madagascar Artamisia covid-organics and the Kenyan Zedupex, thus highlighting the importance of the Standards to mitigate the issues of efficacy, Safety, Quality & Quality Control, Processing and harvesting , Pharmacogivilane and Administrative issue.
The COVID-19 Standardisation Solutions
The COVID-19 Pandemic has offered yet a more concrete evidence of the enduring role of standards and the related quality infrastructure components (technical regulations, conformity assessment regimes (testing, certification, inspections), metrology, accreditation, market surveillance and quality assurance), in enhancing Government policy objectives, not only in trade of products and services, but also in Public Policy, human health, Safety and environmental management.
The standards and the related quality infrastructure organizations are in the frontline to ensure safe the production of quality and safe products, as there is increased and essential demand for safe and quality Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) measures (face masks, sanitizers, safe water and soaps, medical gloves, clinical electrical thermometers, medical waste management and disposal), to counterbalance the the counterfeits. Across the Globe, the Standardisation Community are offering free of Charge standards and conformity Assessment for the manufacturing of Safe and Quality PPEs, as the COVID-19 Pandemic evolves rapidly and uncertainly. Like their international counterparts (ISO, ASTML, AFNOR, CEN-CENELEC, SAC-China, SIS, INTERTEK, COTECNA) the National Bureau of Standards and Certification Bodies have taken leadership role to offer, free of charge, the necessary standards and guidelines for the manufacture, testing and certification of the PPEs. Many ARSO members (Cameroon/ANOR –12 standards; Kenya/KEBS – 14 Standards; Morocco/IMANOR- 3 Standards and Various Conformity Assessment Activities; South Africa/SABS – 24 standards; Uganda/UNBS – 8 Standards; Tanzania/TBS – 4 Standards; Malawi/MBS – 4 standards; Egypt/EOS 27 Standards) have submitted to the Central Secretariat their published standards on COVID -19 interventions, and available at https://www.arso-oran.org/standards-for-covid-19/. Like in many ARSO member States which are running COVID-19 based Conformity Assessment Programmes, the Intertek in particular runs a PROTEK Programme which is an end-to-end health, safety and wellbeing assurance programme for people, workplaces and public spaces, offering audits, training, inspection, verification and certification solutions.
With about 27 African Standards in different stagers (9 ARS, 4 FDARS, 4CD, 13 WD), including ARSO FDARS 1470: 2019 Hand Sanitizers (alcohol based) – Specification, ARSO has expedited the Standards approval for medical and pharmaceutical products, and urged the African NSBs to make medical standards freely available and create customs ‘Green Lanes’ for super-fast clearance of medical supplies to help mitigate the virus and ensure people have access to the safe, essential products they rely on. In consideration of the role of African Traditional Medicine in stopping the COVID-19, ARSO has published the African Traditional Medicine Policy Document to guide the Development and implementation of ATM Standards for COVID-19 and for handling such pandemics in future.
The COVID-19, therefore, provides an opportunity for standards comparison and harmonisation, which is also correspondingly growing, with a need for new collaborative initiatives and rapid implementation of the necessary interventions in a timely manner and at the appropriate scale slow down save lives and live hoods, while minimizing economic, public and social impacts. The call therefore for effective Quality Infrastructure at the national, regional and Continental levels (with effective Quality Policies) in Africa as per the directives already laid out in various Continental and International policies, including the Abuja Treaty, The Lagos Plan of Action and currently, the AfCFTA Protocol (TBT Annex 6 and SPS Annex 7), as well as the WTO TBT/SPS Agreements, is underlined to strengthen Africa’s resilience and capacity, to deal with such pandemics in future.
Objective of the Webinar
The Main objective is to offer a platform for discussion on the Standardisation interventions against the COVID-19 among the ARSO members.
- Understanding the role of Standardisation in the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic
- Indicating various standards used by various ARSO members
- Underlining the role of African Traditional Medicine in the fight Against COVID-19
- Initiating new standardisation collaborative initiatives and programmes for timely and necessary interventions
- Facilitating standardisation cooperation among the ARSO members on COVID-19
- Sharing of Experience on the covid-19 standardisation activities among the ARSO member States
- Highlighting challenges and possible solutions on standards and conformity Assessment activities by the ARSO Members in the mitigation of COVID-19
Outputs of Webinar
- Presentations and list of Standards and Conformity Assessment activities for the interventions of COVID Standards
- Discussions and Comments on the standardisation interventions and experiences on COVID-19
- Report of Webinar
Outcomes of Webinar
- Clear understanding on role of standards and Conformity Assessment in offering solutions to the COVID-19
- Best Conformity Assessment practices on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Insight on COVID-19 standards identification, comparison and harmonisation initiatives
- Strategies and solutions on standards and conformity Assessment activities for mitigation of COVID-19
- Private Sector participation and Support for the COVID-19 Standardisation initiatives
- Safe and Quality essentisl Products (face masks, sanitizers, safe water and soaps, medical gloves, clinical electrical thermometers, medical waste management and disposal) for the management of the COVID-19.
- Mechanisms and strategies to bolster Africa’s resilience, through standardistion, to respond to future pandemics, such as COVID-19, to save lives and livelihoods.
- Impetus for the need of effective Quality Infrastructure at the national, regional and Continental levels (with effective Quality Policies) in Africa as per the directives already laid out in various Continental and International policies, including the Abuja Treaty, The Lagos Plan of Action and currently, the AfCFTA Protocol (TBT Annex 6 and SPS Annex 7).
Mode of Presentation
- Speakers from the ARSO member States may prepare brief slides of no more than 5 minutes to guide the discussions. The presentations will be projected by the ARSO Secretariat. Kindly forward the presentations early enough. The webinar will focus more on discussions. Speakers are requested to forward detailed notes to be used for reporting purposes.
Audience: ARSO Membership and Stakeholders