drug availability

The global demand for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) has grown sharply since its recommendation by the World Health Organization in 2002. However, a combination of financing and programmatic uncertainties, limited suppliers of finished products, information opacity across the different tiers in the supply chain, and widespread fluctuations in raw material prices have together contributed to a market fraught with demand and supply uncertainties and price volatility. Various short-term solutions have been deployed to alleviate supply shortages caused by these challenges; however, new mechanisms are required to build resilience into the supply chain. This review concludes that a mix of strategies is required to stabilize the artemisinin and ACT market. First, better and more effective pooling of demand and supply risks and better contracting to allow risk sharing among the stakeholders are needed. Physical and financial buffer stocks will enable better matching of demand and supply in the short and medium term. Secondly, physical buffers will allow stable supplies when there are procurement and supply management challenges while financial buffer funds will address issues around funding disruptions. Finally, in the medium to long term, significant investments in country level system strengthening will be required to minimize national level demand uncertainties. In addition a voluntary standard for extractors to ensure appropriate purchasing and sales practices as well as minimum quality and ethical standards could help stabilize the artemisinin market in the long term.

Of 48 surveyed hospitals and health centers in Ethiopia, 9 (19%), 9 (19%), and 10 (21%) did not have malaria, TB, or HIV drugs, respectively. Similarly, of 27 health posts, 9 (33%) and 6 (22%) did not have rapid diagnostic tests and antimalarial drugs, respectively. The findings indicated an inadequate availability of essential drugs and commodities in the surveyed facilities as well as weaknesses in human resources and training.

Despite lower levels of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) stock-outs compared to the reports in 2008, the stock-outs at Kenyan facilities during 2010-2011 are still substantial and of particular worry for the most detrimental: simultaneous absence of any AL pack. Only minor decrease was observed in the stock-outs of individual AL packs. Recently launched interventions to eliminate AL stock-outs in Kenya are fully justified.

Background To improve access to treatment in the private retail sector a new class of outlets known as accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDO) was created in Tanzania. Tanzania changed its first-line treatment for malaria from sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to artemether-lumefantrine (ALu) in 2007. Subsidized ALu was made available in both health facilities and ADDOs.

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