In partnership with the WHO, Swissmedic devised a training course in 2018 for regulatory authorities in low- and middle-income countries. The first pilot training took place in Bern in November 2018. Since then, seven such courses have been successfully carried out. Demand for support and training among foreign authorities has remained very high. The training programme serves the needs of many interest groups and enables training to be structured efficiently. By now, these courses – which are provided by Swissmedic on a regular basis – have become a fixed component of the WHO programme for strengthening its member states’ regulatory systems.
The aim of the programme is to develop the knowledge available within authorities in such a way that they can institute effective regulatory measures and thus provide their population with better protection. Training is structured methodically as a “peer learning event” and covers the key topics of QMS, marketing authorisation and market surveillance.
The spring 2022 course is being held from 16 to 20 May, and is aimed specifically at authorities in French-speaking countries. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course will continue to be held virtually. As far as possible, content will be provided in both French and English and will be communicated with simultaneous interpreting. As English has increasingly established itself internationally as the “regulatory reference language”, the programme also aims to train participants in the use of English terminology by way of French as the language of communication. This exchange and transfer of knowledge should help the authorities involved to act more flexibly and effectively at the international level.
To ensure that the project is effective and sustainable in the long term, the foreign authorities are required to submit an action plan to the WHO, setting out how they intend to implement the knowledge acquired by participants. Moreover, Swissmedic and the WHO are working on a detailed Impact Study that will identify specific effects of the training and possible ways of improving it. This study is due to be published in 2022.