Strengthening Systems to Fight Malaria in Guatemala

To achieve the objective of eliminating malaria in Guatemala, timely access to appropriate treatment is a key strategy for the Ministry of Health. One of the mainstays of this strategy is the network of community volunteers who provide diagnosis and treatment for malaria in their communities.  After an assessment identifying weaknesses in the management of antimalarials and diagnostic supplies by the volunteers, SIAPS has been providing technical assistance to the MoH malaria program for a nationwide rollout of interventions to improve management of malaria commodities.  Key strategies to improving access have included—

  • Supporting the malaria program to set up a reporting system for monitoring availability of malaria commodities including at the community level. After only three months of implementation, both pilot regions reported good availability:
    • The health region of Escuintla found that all 184 observed community volunteers registered stock levels in the target range for all malaria commodities as specified by the program,.
    • The health region of Alta Verapaz found that 66% of 173 observed community volunteers had more than the minimum stock of the stipulated supplies.
  • Quantification exercises for malaria commodities. After suffering several months of stock-outs at the national level and depending on donations from PAHO, the malaria program requested SIAPS support to conduct a quantification exercise to ensure availability of commodities. Commodities will be procured in part by the Global Fund and in part by the MoH.  The quantification methodology was documented and local staff were closely involved in the process to build capacity for quantification and facilitate the continued use of a standard method.
  • Developing a manual for malaria commodities management. There is a clear need for standardization of malaria commodities management at all levels, particularly given frequent staff turnover in the MoH. In collaboration with the MoH logistics unit, SIAPS supported the malaria program in developing a manual for malaria commodities management based on the technical norms on management of medicines and supplies developed by the MoH logistics unit (Norma técnica para la gestión de medicamentos y productos afines en Direcciones de Áreas de Salud Ministerio de Salud Pública y Asistencia Social, Guatemala 2014) .