ORSZCA congratulates Swiss Pharma Nigeria and PharmEvo (Pakistan) on achieving WHO prequalification (PQ) status for 20mg dispersible Zinc Sulphate tablets. Swiss Pharma Nigeria is the first African manufacturer to achieve PQ for Zinc tablets. While PharmEvo is the first manufacturer in the world achieve PQ status for a Zinc syrup.
What does prequalification mean?
Prequalification signals confidence in the quality of medicines manufactured and makes them eligible, in principle, for procurement by UN agencies and donor organisations.
How many prequalified products are there for the treatment of diarrhoea?
The short answer is not enough. There are no prequalified ORS products and only six Zinc products (seven if you include Zinc Syrup).
Zinc sulphate dispersible tablets 20mg
Zinc sulphate syrup 10mg/5mL
How do UN Agencies and donor organisations procure Co-packaged ORS and Zinc if there are no prequalified ORS products?
It would appear that they rely on certificates of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). However, quality is a concern. In UNICEF’s Oral Rehydration Salts and Zinc: Market and Supply Update of September 2022 they stated as a challenge:
Due to the limited number of quality suppliers of ORS and ORS and zinc co-packaged products, there are even fewer that can meet the quality standards required for international procurement. Some of the suppliers that UNICEF had awarded supply agreements to as an outcome of its last tender were cancelled as they were not able to maintain product quality standards throughout their LTA [Long Term Agreement] duration. As ORS is an over-the-counter medication and is marketed socially in many countries, supplying demand through UNICEF does not offer sufficient incentive to improve manufacturing and product quality to meet international procurement standards.
Charity Entrepreneurship is a very interesting organisation. It seeks to have a big impact by researching and selecting ideas that, if successfully implemented, would have a huge positive impact on society. They then select and support individuals to set up new non-profit organisations to make these ideas happen. Successful applicants are given the in-depth research already undertaken, and are supported with intensive training and start-up funding of up to $200,000.
They have just launched the current set of five ideas and one is: Distributing life-saving Oral Rehydration Solution and zinc co-packages to treat life-threatening diarrhea in under five year olds.
You can read about the overall programme here: Background on the incubation program
And you can find out more about the current opportunities here: Announcing our 2023 Charity Ideas. Apply now!
The deadline for applications is 12-Mar-2023.
If you’d like to talk to someone at Charity Entrepreneurship before applying, please contact Ula Zarosa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is an amazing opportunity for someone to catalyse a huge impact.
We are slowly building a unique and valuable dataset on the status of ORS and Zinc around the world to raise awareness and generate interest in co-packaged ORS and Zinc. If you have 10 minutes to spare and are familiar with the status of ORS and/or Zinc in a particular country (or countries) please help us by completing a questionnaire on this in English or French. You do not have to know the answer to every question; our aim is to quickly gather insights from the information you have at your fingertips and between us we will build a complete picture.
This dataset seeks to answer the most frequently asked question, that no one can answer, which is “What is the current status of ORS and Zinc across LMICs?”:
- Which countries are using ORS/Zinc co-packs?
- Where does Zinc have “over the counter” status?
- Which countries have co-packaged ORS/Zinc on their Essential Medicines List?
- Co-pack brands, pricing and so on
Please head over the English questionnaire or the French one now or pass this to a friend.
ORSZCA applauds the clarification made last week by the Global Financing Facility (GFF) to their Reclaim the Gains campaign endorsing the importance of Zinc together with ORS in the treatment of diarrhoea.
Reclaim the Gains stands out as being the most significant current global initiative aimed at improving access to diarrhoea treatment. It is essential that such a significant effort is inline with the current WHO and UNICEF treatment recommendations.
Over the last 3 months ORSZCA has been engaged in a positive and productive dialogue with GFF which has resulted in their reference to “oral rehydration treatment” being amended to “oral rehydration solution and zinc treatment”. This simple change could save hundreds of thousands more young lives.
This important, top level clarification leaves the question open as to how the global community might ensure that children receive both ORS and Zinc in practice. All the available evidence seems to point to co-packaging as the best way to ensure this. Please see: Is co-packaging of ORS and Zinc important?