Malaria is endemic in Liberia and the entire population of approximately 3.5 million is at risk. The recent Health Facility Survey (HFS) shows that malaria accounts for about 35% of outpatient department attendance and 33% of inpatient deaths. However due to the limited number of sufficiently staffed public health facilities, only 45% of the population have access to appropriate malaria treatment. Significant deficiencies in Liberia’s pharmaceutical supply system for malaria commodities include poor quantification, storage conditions, limited transport and inappropriate prescribing, and counseling issues.
SIAPS’ predecessor, MSH’s USAID-funded public health project Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) collaborated with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to execute a quantification workshop. SPS also conducted pharmaceutical management training of trainers (TOT) to build pharmaceutical management capacities of county pharmacists. These trainers have trained over 400 service delivery point health workers in their counties. SPS also worked with the University of Liberia, School of Pharmacy to develop new curriculum that would expose the trainees to pharmaceutical supply systems and pharmaceutical care. Assessments have also been made of the existing health system, including intensive mapping activities, a rapid assessment of medicines, and at the request of the MOHSW, the updating of three policy documents—the National Therapeutic Guidelines (NTG), National Formulary (NF), and Essential Medicine List (EML).
The aim of SIAPS is to extend and build upon the solid foundation established by SPS. SIAPS will disseminate the new policy guidelines, extend the standard operating procedures developed for the MOHSW, and focus at the county level (as opposed to past activities conducted at the central level) in effort to meet the goals of the Liberia National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) of 80% access to appropriate case management. SIAPS will provide support to Nimba, Bong and Lofa counties, which have shortages in both public health facilities and staff, in order to reach the goal level of coverage. For these reasons, SIAPS is also assisting the NMCP to expand access to case management through the private sector.