Mrs. Delese Mimi Darko graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and a postgraduate master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Northampton. Her over 30-year career encompasses the regulation of food and drugs including clinical trials regulation, marketing authorization and post approval, safety monitoring of medicines (allopathic and herbal), cosmetics, household chemicals and medical devices.
She has risen through the ranks of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to become the first female Chief Executive Officer in 2017.
She led the FDA process of designation by the NEPAD/African Medicines Regulation Harmonization (AMRH) as Regional Centers of Regulatory Excellence in 3 very critical areas, namely, Medicines Safety (pharmacovigilance), Clinical Trials and Drug Registration. She has contributed both to the growth of research and the local manufacturing industries in Ghana.
Mimi chairs the WHO African Vaccines Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) and serves on several international and local advisory committees and bodies including the CIOMS Vaccine Safety Working Group, the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Blueprint on Research and Development Preparedness, CEPI SAC, Brighton Collaboration SB, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC), the Steering Committee for West African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization project and the Steering Committee for Medical Products Regulatory Systems Strengthening and Harmonization Initiatives in Africa.
In 2020, during the dire period of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Ghana was faced with shortage in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs) like face masks, the FDA under the leadership of Mrs. Darko led in the development of a national standard for locally manufactured face masks (first in Africa) and a 72 hour product approval process for “low risks” COVID-19 related products such as hand sanitizers which led to minimum lead times to enable effective supply of quality sanitizers to the market in the fight against the pandemic.
Through the instrumental role of the FDA, especially in its fight against the pandemic, the Authority under the leadership of Mrs. Darko earned a seat on the Presidential Vaccine Committee and has recently received a 2.8-million-dollar support from the European Union to build its capacity to deliver regulatory support for the manufacturing of mRNA vaccines in the country.
Mrs. Darko’s exemplary and commendable work has earned her several awards. Notable amongst them are the United Nations (UN) Inter-Agency Task Force (UNIATF) award on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in New York, the GLiTZ Africa’s award for Ghana Women of the Year Honours 2019 (Excellence in Health), Ghana Business Standard Awards for the Female Business Leader of the Year 2019 and the Advertising Association of Ghana Special Recognition award for her role in regulating the advertisement of FDA regulated products.
Mimi is a devout Christian and is married with two children.