Rational Medicine Use

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), irrational medicine use is a chronic and serious global problem, with more than half of all medicines prescribed, dispensed, or sold inappropriately.

SIAPS supported the WHO-recommended core strategies and interventions to improve the use of medicines, including pre-service curriculum reform, medicine and therapeutics information, essential medicines lists, standard treatment guidelines, supervision and feedback, drug and therapeutics committees, and public education. SIAPS also promoted and supported diagnostic services, pharmaceutical care, case management, medicine use evaluation, and continuous quality improvement strategies to enhance high-quality, cost-effective, and patient-centered treatment and care. SIAPS and its predecessor programs supported multiple medication adherence measurement and improvement strategies, including collaboration with the International Network for the Rational Use of Drugs Initiative on Antiretroviral Adherence to increase patient adherence to HIV and AIDS treatment regimens.

SIAPS worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders—national governments, academia, health facilities, professional associations, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector—to bring about locally driven, sustainable changes rooted in evidence. Where possible, SIAPS advocated for a systematic approach at the country level to support improved medicine use. This approach included the following activities:

  • Conducting an initial rapid appraisal to identify the main issues and stakeholders
  • Bringing together a multidisciplinary group to catalyze subsequent actions
  • Expanding advocacy and developing partnerships
  • Identifying, prioritizing, and implementing locally feasible interventions and monitoring progress

To complement national-level and facility-based approaches, SIAPS and its predecessors addressed medicine use in the community through community-based surveys, treatment literacy toolkits for patients, and supportive supervision and job aids. To support integrated community case management in Guinea, for example, SIAPS helped develop a job aid to guide community health workers in observing the first dose of medication given to a child. The job aid also supports counseling of family caregivers to ensure proper medicine use and adherence through the course of treatment.

To learn more about our work to promote rational medicine use, please read our technical program update.