Rational Medicine Use

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), irrational medicine use is a chronic and serious global problem, with over half of medicines prescribed, dispensed, or sold inappropriately.

SIAPS supports the WHO-recommended core strategies and interventions to improve the use of medicines, including pre-service curriculum reform, medicine and therapeutics information, essential medicines lists, standard treatment guidelines, supervision and feedback, drug and therapeutics committees, and public education. SIAPS also promotes and supports diagnostic services, pharmaceutical care, case management, medicine use evaluation, and continuous quality improvement strategies to enhance high-quality, cost-effective, and patient-centered treatment and care. SIAPS and its predecessor programs have also supported multiple medication adherence measurement and improvement strategies, including collaboration with the International Network for the Rational Use of Drugs Initiative on Antiretroviral Adherence (INRUD-IAA) to increase patient adherence to HIV and AIDS treatment regimens.

SIAPS works closely with a wide range of stakeholders—national governments, academia, health facilities, professional associations, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector— to bring about locally-driven, sustainable changes rooted in evidence. Where possible, SIAPS advocates for a systematic approach at the country level to support improved medicine use. This approach includes the following activities:

  • Conduct an initial rapid appraisal to identify the main issues and stakeholders
  • Bring together a multidisciplinary group (champion group) to catalyze subsequent actions
  • Expand advocacy and develop partnerships
  • Identify, prioritize, and implement locally-feasible interventions and monitor progress

Complementing national-level and facility-based approaches, SIAPS and its predecessors have addressed medicine use in the community through community-based surveys, treatment literacy toolkits for patients, and supportive supervision and job aids. To support integrated community case management in Guinea, for example, SIAPS helped develop a job aid to guide community health workers (CHWs) in observing the first dose of medication given to a child. The job aid also supports counseling of family caregivers to ensure proper medicine use and adherence through the course of treatment.

To learn more about our work to promote RMU, please read our technical program update.