Namibia

The success of the Namibian government’s “treatment for all” approach to control and stop the country’s HIV epidemic is dependent on an uninterrupted supply of antiretrovirals (ARVs) for people living with HIV. The public health system in Namibia, however, was constrained by an inefficient paper-based pharmaceutical information system resulting in unreliable and inaccessible data, contributing to persistent stock-outs of ARVs and other essential pharmaceuticals. This article describes the incremental implementation of an integrated pharmaceutical management information system to provide timely and reliable commodity and patient data for decision making in Namibia’s national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). Namibia’s pharmaceutical management information system demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of integrating related tools while maintaining their specialized functionality to address country-specific information and inventory management needs.

The success of the Namibian government's “treatment for all” approach to control and stop the country's HIV epidemic is dependent on an uninterrupted supply of antiretrovirals (ARVs) for people living with HIV. The public health system in Namibia, however, was constrained by an inefficient paper-based pharmaceutical information system resulting in unreliable and inaccessible data, contributing to persistent stock-outs of ARVs and other essential pharmaceuticals. This article describes the incremental implementation of an integrated pharmaceutical management information system to provide timely and reliable commodity and patient data for decision making in Namibia's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). Namibia's pharmaceutical management information system demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of integrating related tools while maintaining their specialized functionality to address country-specific information and inventory management needs.

World Health Organization/International Network of Rational use of Drugs (WHO/INRUD) indicators are widely used to assess medicine use. However, there is limited evidence on their validity in Namibia's primary health care (PHC) to assess the quality of prescribing. An analytical cross-sectional survey design was used to examine and validate WHO/INRUD indicators in out-patient units of two PHC facilities and one hospital in Namibia from 1 February 2015 to 31 July 2015. Out of 1243 prescriptions; compliance to NSTG prescribing in ambulatory care was sub-optimal (target was >80%). Three of the four WHO/INRUD indicators did not meet Namibian or WHO targets: antibiotic prescribing, average number of medicines per prescription and generic prescribing. The majority of the indicators had low sensitivity and/or specificity. All WHO/INRUD indicators had poor accuracy in predicting rational prescribing.

The objective of this study was to describe the conceptual and implementation approach of selected digital health technologies that were tailored in various resource-constrained countries. Drawing from our multi-year institutional experience in more than 20 high disease-burden countries that aspire to meet the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, we screened internal project documentation on various digital health tools that provide clarity in the conceptual and implementation approach. Taking into account geographic diversity, we provide a descriptive review of five selected case studies from Bangladesh (Asia), Mali (Francophone Africa), Uganda (East Africa), Mozambique (Lusophone Africa), and Namibia (Southern Africa). A key lesson learned is to harness and build on existing governance structures. The use of data for decision-making at all levels needs to be cultivated and sustained through multi-stakeholder partnerships. The next phase of information management development is to build systems for triangulation of data from patients, commodities, geomapping, and other parameters of the pharmaceutical system. A well-defined research agenda must be developed to determine the effectiveness of the country- and regional-level dashboards as an early warning system to mitigate stock-outs and wastage of medicines and commodities.

Building coalitions can amplify stakeholder efforts to carry out effective AMR prevention and control strategies. We have developed and implemented an approach to help local stakeholders kick-start the coalition-building process. The five-step process is to (1) mobilise support, (2) understand the local situation, (3) develop an action plan, (4) implement the plan, and (5) monitor and evaluate. Our experience with the coalition-building approach in Ethiopia, Namibia, Zambia, and with the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network shows that coalitions can form in a variety of ways with many different stakeholders, including government, academia, and faith-based organisations, to organise actions to preserve the effectiveness of existing antimicrobials and contain AMR.

Despite Namibia's robust medicine use systems and policies, antibiotic use indicators remain suboptimal. Recent medicine use surveys rank cotrimoxazole, amoxicillin and azithromycin (CAA) among the most used medicines. However, there is rising resistance to CAA (55.9%-96.7%). A quantitative text analysis found that policy and guidelines for antibiotic use in Namibia are not comprehensive and are skewed towards PHCs. Existing policies promote the wide use of CAA antibiotics, which may inadvertently result in their inappropriate use, enhancing resistance rates. This calls for the development of more comprehensive antibiotic guidelines and essential medicine lists in tandem with local antimicrobial resistance patterns. 

Abstract Introduction: Active surveillance pharmacovigilance is a systematic approach to medicine safety assessment and health systems strengthening, but has not been widely implemented in low- and middle-income countries.

Abstract Purpose: Active surveillance pharmacovigilance systems better estimate the burden of adverse events (AEs) and can generate useful information on risk factors of AEs for more effective medicine use, especially in conjunction with introduction of new medicines and/or changes in treatment guidelines.

The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence, profile and outcome of adverse events (AEs) associated with treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and explore possible influences of HIV disease on the occurrence of adverse events. Data were collected from treatment records of all patients treated for DR-TB at the study facility between January 2008 and February 2010. A total of 141 adverse events of varying severity were experienced in 90% (53/59) of patients.The TB/HIV co-infection rate was 53%. The prevalence of gastrointestinal tract adverse events was 64%, tinnitus 45%, joint pain 28% and decreased hearing 25%. Abdominal pains, rash, nausea, decreased hearing and joint pain were more common in HIV infected than in HIV uninfected patients.

In response to concerns about the emergence of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR), the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a comprehensive set of early warning indicators (EWIs) to monitor HIV drug resistance and good programme practice at antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites. In 2012, Namibia utilized the updated WHO EWI guidance and abstracted data from adult and pediatric patients from 50 ART sites for the following EWIs: 1. On-time Pill Pick-up, 2. Retention in Care, 3. Pharmacy Stock-outs, 4. Dispensing Practices, and 5. Virological Suppression. The successful 2012 EWI exercise provides Namibia a solid evidence base, which can be used to make national statements about programmatic functioning and possible HIVDR. This evidence base will serve to contextualize results from Namibia's surveys of HIVDR, which involves genotype testing. EWI abstraction has prompted the national program and its counterparts to engage sites in dialogue regarding the need to strengthen adherence and retention of patients on ART. The EWI collection process and EWI results will serve to optimize patient care and support Namibia in making evidence-based recommendations and take action to minimize the emergence of preventable HIVDR.

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