Rwanda is challenged by health issues including HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB). While Rwanda, like most developing countries, benefits from increased accessibility of new medicines and fix-dosed combination formulations to treat HIV and AIDS and malaria, the country’s lack of experience with these products creates concerns about medicine safety and highlights the need to identify and evaluate adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to better understand possible risks and improve treatment protocols.  Rwanda is also in need of better coordinated political and legal frameworks of the pharmaceutical system, including the establishment of a national medicine regulatory authority to enforce laws and build capacity in core functions of medicines regulation.

SIAPS aims to fulfill disease-specific immediate needs in Rwanda, while strengthening the overall health system as measured across five building blocks:  governance, human resources, information, financing and service delivery.  SIAPS is designed to build upon the work already accomplished by its predecessors Rational Pharmaceutical Management (RPM) Plus and Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS).  These two programs conducted extensive assessments of the capacity and readiness of the pharmaceutical and laboratory systems.  Subsequent SPS interventions promoted medicines safety and rational medicines use in Rwanda and were designed to provide immediate response to urgent day to day pharmaceutical problems, while developing the policy framework and human capacity to strengthen the system in the medium and long terms.

SIAPS is particularly interested in long-term sustainability, which requires that the political and legal frameworks of the pharmaceutical system become better coordinated and cover all aspects of the pharmaceutical sector, including rational medicine use, drug quality and pharmacovigilance (medicine safety).  The SIAPS Program has developed a one-year plan to provide technical assistance to improve health system development in Rwanda and contribute to USAID/Rwanda’s strategic objective of a better educated and healthier population. This program is designed to improve governance, build capacity for pharmaceutical management and services, and improve pharmaceutical services to achieve desired health outcomes in the pharmaceutical sector.