Efforts at building capacity for manufacturing and testing the quality of medicines in Sub-Saharan Africa: Historical evidence from the BIRS programme


  • Mercy A. Okezue Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • Stephen J. Byrn Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • Zita Ekeocha Medical Missionaries of Mary, Arusha, Tanzania




Advanced pharmacy education, Biotechnology innovation, Mixed-research, Regulatory science, Sustainable medicine


Background: Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa combat the proliferation of substandard medicines using anti-counterfeiting devices. An alternative measure involves advanced pharmaceutical education. The Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science (BIRS) educate students in pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and quality control (QC).

Objective: This study assessed the African BIRS programme’s efforts to initiate and sustain the manufacturing of quality medicines.

Method: Qualitative case studies were used to assess the impact of the BIRS professional training intervention. A convenient purposeful sample of alumni students working in pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality control (QC) participated. Quantitative parametric methods were used to test the hypothesis that participants would significantly increase over the years if the programme met its objectives in the region.

Results: Alumni from ten countries implemented and sustained projects in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and QC. Participants from 2016 (17 males, 8 females) and 2018 (14 males, 8 females) increased in year 2020 (31 males, 22 females), p-values < 0.05, α = 0.05.

Conclusion: Advanced education has improved efforts in maintaining quality healthcare in the region.

Author Biographies

Mercy A. Okezue, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

School of Agricultural & Biological Engineering & Department of Industrial & Physical Pharmacy

Stephen J. Byrn, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

School of Agricultural & Biological Engineering & Department of Industrial & Physical Pharmacy

Zita Ekeocha, Medical Missionaries of Mary, Arusha, Tanzania



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How to Cite

Okezue, M. A., Byrn, S. J., & Ekeocha, Z. (2022). Efforts at building capacity for manufacturing and testing the quality of medicines in Sub-Saharan Africa: Historical evidence from the BIRS programme. Pharmacy Education, 22(1), p. 872–894. https://doi.org/10.46542/pe.2022.221.872894



Research Article