The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) Central Pharmacy (CP) was created in 1989 to centralize drug purchase, storage and to ensure equitable supply to all Health institutions. Since its creation, the problem of frequent shortages of some essential items in the institutions as well as the over-stocking of these same items in others has greatly been alleviated.
The CBCHS CP is responsible for the procurement and distribution of drugs and medical supplies to the hospitals, integrated health centres and primary health centres of the services situated in 6 of the 10 Regions of Cameroon.
The Central Pharmacy started at Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) as a drug store. Today it is located at the CBC Health Services Complex premises in Mutengene, Southwest Region of Cameroon and has three main departments, each comprising other sub-units. These departments are:
- Administration and Procurement Department
- Distribution or CP Supplies Services Department (made up of the Medical Supplies Store, Drug Store, White Cross Store, and satellite Stores in Banso and Mbingo Baptist Hospitals). Added to these is a 20 ton van that distributes drugs to all major hospitals.
- Production Department (made up of the Quality Assurance unit, Sterile Production unit, Non-Sterile Production or Compounding unit and Chemical Production unit
One of CP’s most outstanding products is the HESCO (Health Services Complex) Water, which is consumed nationwide. Although it was initially started to meet the needs of babies and families infected with HIV & AIDS, the quality of HESCO Water and the portability of its bottle size have made it widely demanded by a vast majority of the public.
The CP today has staff strength of 70, up from 4 at creation. God willing, the CP intends to become a full-fledged pharmaceutical manufacturing company in the future.
Distribution or CP Supplies Services Department
- Drug Supply Services
The Drug Supply Services of the Central Pharmacy (CP) is one of the pioneer units of this institution. Its major goal is to “Rationally and efficiently procure and distribute good quality essential drugs and medical supplies at affordable prices in sufficient quantities and in the shortest time possible to all the CBC Health Institutions so as to satisfactorily meet the needs of customers, and bring about delighted and loyal customers at all drug supply levels in the CBC, and equally generate sufficient funds to develop and sustain drug supply in the health institutions and the nation as a whole”.
The Central Pharmacy Drug Supply Department has two satellite stores located at Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) and Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH), all in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. The satellite store at MBH supplies drugs and other medical supplies to 7 health institutions, while the one at BBH serves 13 other stations in the Northwest, West and Adamawa provinces. These two satellite stores and 5 other institutions in the Southwest, Littoral and Center Provinces receive supplies directly from the Central Pharmacy in Mutengene. Drugs and other medical supplies distributed by the department are either acquired locally (particularly from CENAME, the national drug supply unit in Cameroon) or from abroad. Presently, the CBC Central Pharmacy Drug supply Services Department is the second drug supply management system in Cameroon after CENAME in terms of centralized procurement, distribution and capacity. It stocks about 267 different drugs and a wide range of medical supplies and equipment.
- White Cross Store
White Cross is a Healthcare Ministry (an organization) founded in the early 1960s by the Baptist Women Missionary Union of the North American Baptist General Conference, USA. Their objective is to assist patients to be comfortable in their sick beds when admitted as a way of sharing Christ’s love with the patients.
White Cross donates relief goods to CBCHS hospitals, clinics and other services under the CBCHS on which the Board has to spend only for inland transport and customs clearance transactions. The Board also serves as the link between the White Cross and the Mambilla Baptist Conference in Nigeria since its supplies are done through the CBCHB. Some items the Board receives from White Cross include beds, wheel chairs, chairs, beddings and many other items for use in the Board, some of which help in significantly reducing patients’ bills. Also, baby blankets, baby diapers and baby jackets, received from the organization are offered to poor mothers in rural areas to make them feel good when discharged from health institutions after delivery.
- Sterile Production unit
This unit has been preparing intravenous infusion fluids, injections and eye-drops for all CBCHB hospitals and health centers since 1994. Before creating the Sterile Production unit in 1994, these products were hardly available in local markets; and till this day, it is estimated that more than half the quantity of IV infusion fluids used in Cameroon is still imported. If authorized, the department would raise production to a level beyond its own consumption capacity so as to be able to supply IV infusion fluids to other institutions. However, this would demand huge expenditures which may require external support.
Presently the Sterile Production Department produces four different intravenous infusion fluids each filled in plastic bags of different volumes (1000ml, 500ml, 250ml, and 100ml), and 23 different eye-drops, filled in plastic bottles of 5 ml.
- Non-Sterile Production Unit
This unit produces “extemporaneous” (freshly prepared-for-use) products for all CBCHB institutions. Products of this unit are classified into two groups: external and internal preparations. External preparations are those intended to be applied topically on the skin surface like creams, lotions, ointments, gels, topical solutions, etc. Internal preparations on the other hand make up those preparation intended to be taken orally (swallowed), like oral solutions and oral suspensions, e.g. Paracetamol 120mg/5ml elixir, and Metronidazole 125mg/5ml suspension. Other products of the Non-Sterile Production Department include ear drops and mouthwash solutions. It also packages ready-for-use powders and granules.
- Chemical Production Unit
This unit was created in October 2002 to produce laundry agents (detergents) and disinfectants for use in CBCHS institutions. The cleaning agents and disinfectants produced are used mainly against skin diseases and on the immediate environment. They include:
- Medicated soaps, adult and child strengths
- Antiseptic soap
- Chlorine bleach from Hypochlorite
- Treatment agents for mosquito nets.
Some research work is also going on here for the production of ethanol from local materials.
Unfortunately, production of cleaning agents and disinfectants at the Chemical Production Unit is still being done manually despite the highly qualified man power available. This is due to the high cost linked with automated production.
- Quality Assurance (QA) Department
This department of the Central Pharmacy ensures an appropriate infrastructure or “quality system” encompassing the procedures, processes and resources in meeting with company (CBC Central Pharmacy) standards as well as applicable government and the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations. Another objective of the QA department is to provide systemic actions necessary to ensure adequate confidence that a product (or service) will satisfy given requirements for quality; that is, from reception of raw materials, moving through the production process, the packaging operations, the finished product testing, documentation, surveillance and distribution.
The department has:
- Quality control laboratory made up of the following components:
- Physico-chemical laboratory
- Microbiology laboratory
- Instrument room
- Chemical store
- Retain sample store
- A general store for non – specific items
- Documentation and research
- Standardization unit that ensures the applicability of all current good practices. These practices include amongst others:
- Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)
- Current Good Laboratory Practices (cGLP)
- Current Good Documentation Practices (cGDP)
- Current Good Environmental Practices (cGEP)
- Organizing capacity building seminars / workshops
The staff of the QA Department are well trained scientists in fields like Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Analysis, Analytical Chemistry, Microbiology and Laboratory Technology, besides a host of support staff.
CBC Central Pharmacy
P.O. Box 152, Tiko
Southwest Region, Cameroon
Tel: +237 33351082