The Indo-Pacific Regulatory Strengthening Program (RSP) has rapidly moved key activities online to support Australia’s neighbours as they respond to COVID-19.Since 2018, the RSP has been working across the region to support national medicines regulatory authorities to work together effectively improves the impact and safety of medical products through more efficient regulation. The RSP is a key program under Australia’s Health Security Initiative. It is implemented by the Department of Health through the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the RSP adapted the planned activities with the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority to deliver a series of technical webinars. The webinars, held in May and June, advised on method verification and validation, and drug screening for counterfeit medicine detection with a focus on potential medicines to be used in the treatment of COVID-19, which was immediately useful for participants. Representatives from 33 regional laboratories across Indonesia attended.
Another activity under the RSP is scholarships for staff from medicines regulatory authorities to participate in modules under the Graduate Certificate in Pharmaceutical Regulation program conducted by the Centre for Regulatory Excellence (CoRE) at the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School.
The course was originally planned to be delivered in a classroom setting with overseas participants travelling to Singapore. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the delivery mode changed to an online learning platform which hosts virtual live lectures and recorded presentations plus breakout rooms for group discussion work. This enhanced students’ ability to participate and interact with educators and peers.
The content of the coursework is largely unchanged but lecture timings were altered or were pre-recorded which increased accessibility for students in different time zones.
The call for scholarship recipients through the respective national authorities in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam was met with a fantastic response. CoRE is expecting 20 participants this year, spread across various modules.
The first module for scholarship awardees started on June 22.
Images provided by the Centre for Regulatory Excellence (CoRE) at the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School.