In Mali, key health commodities such as anti-malarials, family planning commodities, and other essential pharmaceuticals are frequently unavailable at various different levels of the health system when they are needed by patients and information on pharmaceuticals that are needed for planning by the government, donors and technical partners are not readily available when required. Additionally, imbalances in stock levels of key commodities are a challenge to address rapidly because of poor coordination and information sharing among various actors in Mali’s public health system that manage pharmaceuticals .
Mali’s participation in various international health initiatives aimed at preventing and fighting transmissible diseases have provided much needed additional financial resources. However, these additional resources have also brought along new pressures and challenges to a public pharmaceutical system that needs to adapt to dealing with an increased volume and variety of pharmaceutical products and with the requirements of the new donors.
The goal of the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) is to assure the availability of quality commodities and effective pharmaceutical services to achieve desired health outcomes with a focus on patient-centered services. This is to be done through a systems strengthening approach consistent with the Global Health Initiative, as well as Mali’s National Health Development Strategy (PRODESS) to attain improved and sustainable health outcomes.
In its first year, SIAPS will focus on addressing immediate needs for data on medicines by getting stakeholders to leverage their various networks and agree on a rapid way to collect and transmit data, as well as to create the space and dialogue to ensure that this data will be used. SIAPS will help initiate a redesign of the existing public sector system for collecting and reporting data on essential medicines. Also in the first year, ground work will be laid for institutional strengthening of the key institutions in the pharmaceutical sector responsible for setting normative standards and for regulation.
In the second and third year of activity, SIAPS expects to shift its focus from being a catalyst for strengthening the key institutions and generating improvements in reporting on pharmaceutical management data in Mali’s pharmaceutical sector to having more of a supporting and facilitating function in order to consolidate and sustain capacity built during its first year of implementation. By the fourth and fifth years of implementation, the Department of Pharmacies and Medicines, and the institutions it oversees, would be expected to truly be taking the lead in initiating and implementing key functions in medicines regulation.
SIAPS aims to achieve these goals through strengthening the pharmaceutical sector governance, increasing and enhancing the capacity for pharmaceutical supply management and services, increasing accessibility to pharmaceutical management information for decision-making, strengthening finance strategies and mechanisms to improve access to medicines, and improving overall pharmaceutical services to achieve the desired health outcomes in Mali.