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International Partnerships

Lessons and successes from a Rwanda Food and Drug Authority and Team Europe twinning project


This twinning project initially focused on: 

  • improving legal framework and regulatory functions linked to health products;
  • strengthening market surveillance, focusing on vigilance and laboratory testing functions; and 
  • supporting the establishment of batch release function for vaccines.

As the project progressed, an additional goal emerged

The WHO Global Benchmarking Tool aims to evaluate the overarching regulatory framework and its component regulatory functions. This tool rates regulatory systems on a scale of 1 (few elements of regulatory system existing) to 4 (advanced level of regulatory system) to assess the overall maturity of the regulatory system.  

Achieving this third level for Rwanda would confirm that a stable, well-functioning and integrated regulatory system is in place.

Project activities


Key accomplishment related to surveillance
  • Developing a pharmacovigilance training plan 
  • Updating 4 guidelines related to the regulatory framework for clinical trial oversight 
  • Staff members who participated in trainings improved their ability to analyse safety reports in the pharmacovigilance system
Highlights related to establishing lot release for vaccines
  • Developing a legal framework for batch release 
  • Creating Standard Operating Procedure to perform the batch release   
  • Developing and delivering trainings for RFDA, which have already been completed by half of the relevant staff members
Additional accomplishments
  • Staff members who participated in training improved their skills in some regulation functions, including marketing authorisation 
  • Four Rwanda FDA inspectors have been trained to improve their skills in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections 
  • Developing an action plan to improve RFDA laboratories 

Lessons from the field

Don’t be afraid to pivot.

If you learn new information on the ground and a clear priority comes into focus, adapt the plan!

Maintain momentum despite the distance.

Depending on your twinning project, your teams might be far apart geographically. Ensure your teams are making time for virtual and in-person meetings and look for opportunities to keep motivation high.

Apply the twinning model to more projects.

New medicines regulatory agencies have their work cut out for them. Partnering intensively with experienced agencies can enable them to gain expertise and align with international regulations, which in turn can accelerate their ability to provide for and protect the people they serve.