The U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Thomas Daughton, visited a hospital and clinic in the Oshana region of Namibia last week to unveil a new electronic stock card, an innovation that has greatly improved service delivery in the country. The Facility Electronic Stock Card (FESC) simplifies pharmaceutical inventory control tasks, allowing pharmacy staff to devote […]
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The Government of South Sudan expends significant resources in the fight against malaria. With support from development partners, it has invested in personnel, infrastructure, and the procurement and distribution of malaria commodities in the country. As one of the key partners supporting government efforts to control malaria, SIAPS has been working to build the capacity of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), a government organization responsible for the planning, coordination, and general oversight of all malaria prevention and control activities, including fulfilling Roll Back Malaria and MIS requirements.
To this end, SIAPS has been supporting NMCP in performing its core functions, including planning, coordinating, and implementing malaria interventions. This includes providing on-the-job training and conducting routine supportive supervision; coordinating with other USAID and global health partners to provide malaria case management training; and helping to ensure effective management of essential antimalaria commodities in the country.
Strengthening Pharmacovigilance Systems in Swaziland to Improve Patient Safety and Treatment Outcomes
SIAPS mobilized stakeholders from the Swaziland National AIDS Program (SNAP) and the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTCP) to introduce and implement the Sentinel Site-based Active Surveillance System for Antiretroviral and Anti-TB (SSASSA) treatment programs. SIAPS partnered with the Pharmacovigilance Unit of the MOH to create the protocol and tools for the electronic SSASSA system, and developed a patient recruitment system at HIV and TB sites.
To assess the readiness and willingness of retail drug dispensers in the private sector to participate in TB case detection, SIAPS conducted a baseline survey among pharmacies and accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDOs) in the regions of Morogoro and Dar es Salaam. Drug dispensers in 122 pharmacies and 173 ADDOs were surveyed to assess TB knowledge and practices, and to inform the development of appropriate interventions to address gaps.
Evaluation and Expansion of Community Case Management of Malaria to Support Informed Decision Making
Working in partnership with the leadership at the MOH and the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), SIAPS helped develop protocols and job aids for CHWs to guide them in the key steps of case management, and supported initial and refresher trainings for over 520 CHWs from the two districts. To ensure that health facilities also had sufficient capacity to provide effective support to the CHWs, SIAPS conducted additional trainings with health facility and district-level staff to create a network of support for the CCM pilot. SIAPS also helped establish a mechanism to collect and use data coming out of the pilot by building the data collection and analysis capacity of CHWs and health facility staff, and by developing a database at the district level to aggregate data from each health center. Additionally, SIAPS ensured the CHWs had the necessary equipment to provide effective CCM, including mobile telephones, bicycles, commodities boxes, gloves, cups, and spoons.
Absence of coordination mechanisms, lack of comprehensive guidelines, vertical programs and systems, and duplication of procurement practices impede effective procurement of medicines and health products in developing countries, frequently resulting in either too few or too many products on hand. In many low- and middle-income countries, such as Bangladesh, the logistics and management capabilities and systems are not sufficient to meet basic globally accepted standards and norms. However, pharmaceutical logistics management units offer a platform to help ensure not only a continuous supply of medicines and health supplies, but also coordinate procurement activities across the range of stakeholders involved, and build donor support by providing accurate data for decision making.
Using the pharmaceutical systems strengthening approach, SIAPS supported the GPPTC in three critical systems-strengthening areas. First, SIAPS facilitated the development and approval of provincial guidelines to establish pharmaceutical and therapeutics committees (PTCs) at all health facilities in Gauteng Province. The guidelines reinforce the governance mechanisms supporting the PTCs, outlining expected compliance to procurement practices and assessing pharmaceutical expenditures. Second, SIAPS strengthened human resources capacity through the implementation of a workshop on financial management for pharmacists, carried out in tertiary hospitals and at the district level. Third, SIAPS strengthened information systems through the implementation of financial reporting software at the depot level.
Assessments conducted in 2013 on the management of TB drugs in Ukraine highlighted specific pharmaceutical management challenges, particularly in terms of data collection, capacity constraints, data quality, and frequency of reporting. Of note, cases of TB within the penitentiary system―roughly 15% of all TB cases in Ukraine―were poorly tracked; even when available, data from the penitentiary system were not integrated with the information system at the Ministry of Health (MOH), which skewed TB surveillance data. Furthermore, ongoing political unrest and personnel changes at the MOH continue to hinder efforts to address these challenges.
Supporting Pre- and In-Service Training Programs to Expand and Strengthen the Pharmaceutical Workforce
A number of low resource countries are facing a severe and prolonged shortage of health workers, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector where pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, and technicians are becoming especially scarce. With treatment programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS and TB, expanding in many countries, more pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are required to provide effective services. Additionally, overstretched pharmacists and other healthcare workers are often unable to provide effective patient-centered pharmaceutical care which recognized as a critical opportunity to prevent drug resistance, reduce irrational medicines use, eliminate wasteful spending, and most importantly, improve patient health outcomes.
SIAPS technical support has helped strengthen the capacity of the national registration committee and streamline medicines registration. As a result, the number of registered medicines has increased from 200 in 2010 to over 3,000 in 2014; 72% of the medicines included on DRC’s essential medicines list currently have at least one product registered, up from 44% in 2011. The backlog of applications has been completely eliminated and the time taken to process a new application has been reduced from a peak of 85 days in 2013 to 64 days at the end of 2014.