Food and Drugs Authority Wins UN Inter-agency Task Force Award For Outstanding Leadership

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs. Delese Mimi Darko has received the United Nations Inter-agency Task Force (UNIATF) award for her Outstanding Leadership and Contribution to the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD). The award was presented to Mrs. Darko at the third High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, 27th September 2018.

These awards, presented by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director-General for Programmes, WHO, are the first ever to be given out by the UNIATF and they were initiated earlier on in the year to recognise Governments, Institutions or Individuals making an outstanding contribution to NCD-prevention and control.

Non-communicable diseases are usually diseases which are not transmitted but last for long periods of time and progress slowly. NCDs include mental disorders, alcohol and drug addictions as well as cancers and heart diseases to name a few. These diseases are a leading cause of death globally. In the light of the alarming statistics associated with NCDs, the UN Secretary-General established the task force in 2013 under the leadership of The World Health Organisation (WHO) to coordinate the activities of relevant UN organisations and other inter-governmental organisations in supporting the realization of the commitments made by the Heads of States and Governments back in 2011 to respond to NCD epidemics worldwide over the period 2013 – 2020.

In 2018, nominations were invited for individuals and organization in the following categories for the first ever awards:

  •  Ministries of Health
  • Ministries Outside Health
  • United Nations Country Team

Mrs. Darko won the award for An Outstanding Individual in Ministries outside Health. Her name was amongst an impressive list of winners including a President, Ministers, a First Lady and senior government officials across the world and has put Ghana firmly in the forefront on the continent for the significant progress made in controlling NCDs by her and her team at FDA over the years.

Mrs. Darko is a world-renowned and globally recognized regulator with expertise in safety monitoring and consumer protection.

She is a pharmacist by profession with over 27 years experience in the regulation of medicines with respect to clinical trials, marketing authorization and post-approval safety monitoring of medicines. Her opinion is sought across the world by the affiliate institutions of the World Health Organization as well as the African Union and the West African Health Organization.

Her hard work and effort with the support of a dedicated team have positioned Ghana’s FDA at the forefront of medical products regulation and patient protection. This has resulted in Regulators from several African Countries visiting Ghana to understudy the regulation of herbal medicine, clinical trials and pharmacovigilance and recently the food regulation system.

In addition to being CEO of FDA, Mrs. Darko is a founding member of the African Vaccines Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of AVAREF.

The sterling work of the team at Ghana’s FDA has led to the interest in and support from key global players like the UK Department for International Development, the WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI, WAHO and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative(IAVI).

The award to Mrs. Darko also reflects the hard work and contributions being made by several Ghanaians in the control of NCDs and should spur more Ghanaians to join the noble and important task of rolling back these diseases.

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