By Shirin Kakayeva, SIAPS Technical Associate and Dr. Archil Salakaia, SIAPS Central Asia Portfolio Manager
Uzbekistan is one of 18 high-priority countries in the WHO’s European region, and is among 27 high-burden multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) countries in the world. As the uninterrupted supply of anti-TB medicines is necessary for the survival of TB patients, pharmaceutical management is a crucial component in TB control. To address the challenges presented by its current TB pharmaceutical management system, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uzbekistan requested assistance from WHO and SIAPS.
The first comprehensive countrywide assessment of the TB pharmaceutical management system, conducted in July-August 2014 with the technical assistance of SIAPS and in collaboration with WHO Country Office, revealed some shortcomings of the existing system. These include problems with forecasting demand for medicines and supply planning. The findings emphasized that the MoH urgently requires the establishment of an early warning and quantification system for anti-TB medicines, which would enable the NTP to minimize the risks of stock-outs or losses of medicines due to expiration. In discussion with the National TB Pharmaceutical Management Working Group created by the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan, it was decided to establish such a system with the use of QuanTB, the anti-TB medicine quantification, forecasting and early warning tool developed by SIAPS.
The system will be piloted in the first quarter of 2015 in the Fergana, Samarkand, and Khorezm oblasts (regions), as well as the capital, Tashkent City. From January 26-29, 2015, SIAPS trained 16 representatives from pilot oblasts and NTP in the use of QuanTB. Participants learned not only how to use the tool, but also watched a demonstration of a data collection process and learned analysis techniques to aid in supply planning and quantification of anti-TB medicines, as well as in the anticipation and early identification of supply problems.
The evaluation of the training showed that users found the tool to be very helpful to their work.
The next task for SIAPS/Uzbekistan will be to plan the system’s countrywide rollout based on the results of the pilot. Helping to implement the system throughout the whole country and ultimately witness the strengthening of TB pharmaceutical management system will undoubtedly be rewarding for SIAPS and its partners.