Ethiopia faces major health problems in the form of largely preventable communicable diseases and nutritional disorders. Despite major progresses in improving the health status of the population in the last one and half decades, Ethiopia’s population still faces a high rate of morbidity and mortality.

Despite tangible accomplishments in ARV drugs management in Ethiopia, there are gaps that still need to be addressed to further improve pharmaceutical services. Shortage and high turnover of staff, weak record keeping and reporting, quality of consumption data for quantification, inadequate training and a lack of reference materials, a lack of pharmaceutical institutional framework that would guarantee “ownership” of interventions by implementing partners, poor tracking of expiry and delayed disposal of obsolete and expired products are some of the challenges that health facilities still face.

Observations from pharmacy dispensing settings show frequent use of injectables, use of antibiotics for conditions that don’t require them, incomplete writing of prescriptions by prescribers, crowded dispensing environment that does not create room for proper counseling, and errors in dispensing that damage the health of clients. These contribute to irrational drug use and poor adherence to treatment, which in turn could lead to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), adverse drug reactions, toxicities and poor response to treatment.

The mandate of the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program is to build capacity within Ethiopia’s governmental and nongovernmental organizations to effectively manage pharmaceutical systems, ensure access to essential medicines, and improve quality of pharmaceutical services. SIAPS benefits from the strong and successful partnership and collaboration created between its predecessor, Strengthening Pharmaceutical Services (SPS), and key government agencies and professional associations during the past four years.

SIAPS will continue to support capacity building of national organizations, such as Pharmaceutical Fund and Supply Agency (PFSA); Food, Medicines and Health Care Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) and Regional Health Bureaus (RHBs); professional associations, teaching institutions and health facilities using the SIAPS framework. Support will be  focused around strengthening pharmaceutical management, improving Pharmaceutical Good Governance, policy and practice reform aimed at strengthening national skills and capacity in various areas of pharmaceutical systems, promotion and implementation of rational use of medicines, containing the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, promotion of treatment adherence and medicines safety with the aim to improve treatment outcomes.