In Guinea, the prevalence of malaria is a paramount public health concern—the disease is endemic throughout the country of over 10 million people. Guinea is working to combat the disease but a number of roadblocks to proper access to medicines remains, especially long-lasting stock-outs of commodities. Political instability, delays in policy implementation, and a weak medicines information system are among some of the challenges the Guinean Ministry of Health (MoH) faces in strengthening the pharmaceutical health system.
The Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, which is funded by USAID, is working with MoH to reconcile the long-term goals of country ownership, system strengthening, and sustainability with the immediate requirements for continuing scale-up and expansion of malaria prevention and treatment programs. The program will do this by building a sustainable system through technical assistance and pharmaceutical systems strengthening.
The four main overarching goals of SIAPS in Guinea are—
- Strengthening governance in the pharmaceutical sector
- Enhancing capacity for pharmaceutical supply management and services
- Making pharmaceutical management information systems available at all levels of the health system
- Improving pharmaceutical services to achieve desired health outcomes
SIAPS will serve as the secretariat for a multi-partner committee on procurement and distribution of medicines to ease coordination and improve information systems. SIAPS will also contribute to improving governance and operations at key institutions in Guinea’s pharmaceutical sector, namely the National Medicines Regulatory Authority and the Central Medical Stores. In doing so, SIAPS and Guinea’s MoH are working together to overcome political barriers that hinder the ability of many key pharmaceutical system actors to improve their performance and to help reduce recurrent stock-outs at the peripheral level of the health system.