Improving the availability and accessibility of safe, and affordable quality essential medicines is crucial to fighting common diseases and improving public health around the world. The establishment of national policies that clearly lay out legal and administrative terms for the pharmacy sector, strengthen the national medicine supply system, and promote the rational use of medicines is an important step in achieving this goal.
Recognizing the need to establish such a framework for its own pharmacy sector, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) requested the technical assistance of the USAID-funded SIAPS Program to support the Department of Pharmacy, Medicine, and Traditional Medicine (Direction de la Pharmacie du Médicament et de la Médecine Traditionnelle, DPM/MT) in revising and publishing the national medicines policy (NMP). The NMP aims to ensure the availability, accessibility, and optimal use of quality essential medicines for the entire Haitian population.
Closing the gaps
In February 2012, a SIAPS team conducted a scoping mission to Haiti to better understand the key pharmaceutical sector gaps to be addressed in a revised NMP through discussions with the Ministry of Health, USAID, and other key stakeholders. A series of interviews was carried out with representatives of the MSPP, as well as key stakeholders and decision makers, implementing partners, donors, international health agencies, private sector organizations, and academic institutions. These interviews provided important information related to key priority gaps in the pharmaceutical sector, which were considered during the revision of the NMP. The team was also able to review key documents related to pharmaceutical sector, including DPM/MT assessment reports, the 1997 draft of the NMP, the Pharmacy Law Act of 1997, the National Health Strategic Plan for 2005-10, and DPM/MT standards and procedures.
- Forming working groups and preparing meetings of stakeholders responsible for the review of specific sections of the NMP.
- Establishing an NMP task force to support the development and submission process for the NMP.
- Conducting a series of five one-day stakeholders’ engagement workshops to discuss pharmaceutical sector gaps and to propose recommendations for the government to include in the NMP.
- Revising the 1997 draft of the NMP to incorporate the recommendations of stakeholders and the WHO, and take into account changes in global health trends.
- Finalizing and printing 5,000 copies of the NMP document in September 2014.