A reliable and regular supply of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines is necessary to keep HIV-positive people living healthier, longer lives and also helps control the spread of the HIV epidemic. However, frequent stock-outs of ARVs and other drugs used to treat related opportunistic infections can prevent patients from staying on or starting life-saving treatment regimens.
The root causes of these stock-outs often stem from a lack of coordination between stakeholders, inadequate or underutilized supply chain information systems, and mismanagement of commodities.
The USAID-funded SIAPS West Africa Regional project, with support from the USAID West Africa Regional Health Office, is working to strengthen pharmaceutical systems and reduce stock-outs of HIV and AIDS medicines and commodities by:
- Improving coordination among regional and national stakeholders
- Increasing the use of pharmaceutical management information for informed decision making
- Enhancing access to financial resources for procurement of ARVs
- Strengthening capacity for pharmaceutical supply management
In six focus countries, SIAPS is working with national HIV and AIDS control programs to enhance the collection, analysis, and use of supply chain data to promote a more coordinated approach to HIV and AIDS commodities management.
SIAPS will also facilitate the exchange of information and experiences by convening a regional stakeholder’s meeting, along with more frequent sub-regional meetings. Leveraging the opportunity to meet multiple objectives, the regional stakeholder meeting will be a forum to share best practices, conduct trainings, and review progress on national supply plan implementation.
The regional stakeholder meeting will also help to inform another key piece of SIAPS’ work in West Africa– the development of an early warning system to avert stock-outs of HIV and AIDS commodities.
The early warning system will collect and display pharmaceutical supply data from the region in a meaningful and easy-to-interpret online platform, allowing the spectrum of stakeholders—from program managers to ministry of health officials—to monitor commodity stock status, anticipate future funding gaps, respond to projected medicine shortages and expiries, and make decisions based on accurate information.
Through improved regional coordination and the development of an early warning system, SIAPS aims to help local and regional stakeholders address key factors contributing to stock-outs, implement strategies to prevent them from occurring, and strengthen pharmaceutical management systems so that HIV and AIDS medicines and commodities can be available when and where they are needed.