"Good Pharmacy Practice" Certification for Ugandan Public Sector
The National Drug Authority (NDA) has minimum standards and inspects facilities to certify that they meet those standards. Inspections, therefore, are important in ensuring good pharmacy practices. Until now, NDA had only inspected private sector pharmacies who had more resources to achieve what was required to be certified. With technical and financial assistance from the MSH-led, USAID-funded program, Securing Ugandans' Right for Essential Medicines (Uganda SURE), NDA has now inspected 664 public and private-not-for-profit health facility pharmacies to assess how well they provide pharmaceutical services Plans are in place to ensure that NDA inspects all 2,048 SURE-supported health facilities by April 2014—and there are high hopes that all public sector pharmacies in Uganda will be inspected by NDA for good pharmacy practice.
A pharmacy meets NDA standards, which are based on international standards, if it:
- Stores medicines and health supplies appropriately, so quality is maintained
- Gives patients information about how to take their drugs and why they are taking their drugs in a private setting
- Is clean and tidy. Benches, drinking water, and a place for patients to wash their hands are all required.
Since June 2012, SURE and NDA have partnered to carry out inspections. SURE pays fuel and transport costs, while NDA covers other expenses. SURE also provided technical support to the additional training for 40 NDA inspectors and the development of a new, more comprehensive inspection tool. SURE’s support will continue until April 2014; thereafter, the hope is that other implementing partners will support this important activity.
“Health center in-charges will improve the way they work if they know their health facility has not met GPP standards, because during GPP inspection, their names and contacts are written down, and this challenges them to work harder next time,” says District Drug Inspector, Daniel Isabirye, from Jinja.
Medicines management in public sector health facilities have improved dramatically thanks to the Supervision, Performance Assessment and Recognition Strategy (SPARS) that the Ministry of Health is implementing nationally. Regular, mentoring and performance assessment is the basis of the strategy, so facilities with SPARS should be closer to meeting good pharmacy practice standards. Facilities that are certified are rewarded with a Good Pharmacy Practice certificate, a sign designating their status, and educational posters. These materials will also enable the public to recognize and value the improved service they will now receive.