HERAT CITY, Herat Province – White-clad employees in masks assemble medicine bottles and then use a machine to pack them carefully into boxes at a local pharmaceutical factory. On the other side of the workplace, another group of employees examine the manufacturing and expiration dates on medicine cartons. Thousands of bottles of syrups and hundreds of cartons of tablets enter Afghanistan’s markets every day, bearing the company seal of Avison Pharma.
The factory of Avison Pharma Medicine Manufacturing Company is located in the industrial district of Herat, near the city’s international airport. The factory began in a small way, manufacturing only a few medical products in 2011, but has since grown to supply its products across the country. “Our production was low in the past and we produced only seven medicinal products,” says Ahmad Sohail Azimi, administrative and financial manager at the factory. “The size of the factory in terms of number of staffs was also small. Now, 65 employees work at the factory, manufacturing 45 different medicinal products every day.”
Raw materials are imported from Germany, England, Malaysia, and India. The company controls the quality of its products using advanced machinery. With support from the ANMDP, employees are trained to properly use the sophisticated machinery with which they can do an accurate quantitative analysis of the medication components. “Before the training, we could only use the machine in a limited way,” says Latifa Niazi, Quality Control Manager of the company.
The quantitative analysis allows the factory to ensure that medication formulas are correctly adhered to and guarantees quality control, she says. Thanks also to ANMDP support, international and Afghan consultants have taught staff to follow formulas and protocols to correctly produce medications and adhere to international quality standards.
Factory staff have also received training in packing and using laboratory equipment. They have been taught to pack boxes effectively to avoid product damage, and incorporate branding and labeling on products. “Our products have improved dramatically in quality because of ANMDP support,” says Ahmad Sohail Azimi. The company has received international certification for meeting safety, quality management, and production standards.
ANMDP, launched in May 2011, is implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries and supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries It is a cost-sharing program to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and business associations with access to business development services to enhance their productive capacity and encourage innovation through product and market diversification.