MSH Will Provide Support to Essential Medicines Franchise in Kenya

The SEAM Program will provide technical support to the Cry for the World Foundation to improve access to essential medicines in Kenya

WASHINGTON, DC (SEPTEMBER 25, 2001) —  Management Sciences for Health (MSH) announced today that its Strategies for Enhancing Access to Medicines (SEAM) Program will provide technical support to the Cry for the World Foundation (CFW) to improve access to essential medicines in Kenya. This effort will expand and improve CFW's current franchised network of private-owned pharmaceutical outlets to distribute high-quality essential medicines to poor populations in the country.

In 2000, CFW started a network of small essential medicines outlets, owned and managed by Kenyan community health workers. The number of shops has since grown to 26. This year the franchise will expand to include a network of private dispensaries that will provide basic primary care and a larger list of essential medicines. In addition to the use of community health workers, whose role is critical in reaching out to local populations, the expanded model will employ private nurses to increase the quality of care and expand the number of products sold.

The goal of the effort is to establish a fully sustainable network of approximately 200 Kenyan owned and operated franchised outlets by the year 2005, with a particular focus on reaching the poorest populations. To better ensure quality as the franchise grows, district-level staff have been trained to provide ongoing monitoring and supervision of the outlets. Additional support will be provided for the outlet managers and their staff through ongoing training, appropriate information technology, and development and the implementation of efficient management systems. The franchise has the full support of the Government of Kenya, and provides a good example of how a public-private partnership can work effectively in pharmaceutical distribution.

The SEAM Program is supporting the development of the CFW franchised network by providing technical assistance, training, and management tools in the areas of supervision, communications, analysis and evaluation, and management systems. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the SEAM Program seeks to develop and implement innovative systems that increase consumer access to health commodities by using private sector infrastructure and services and that improve the quality of these services in support of public health objectives.

In parallel with the support to CFW, the SEAM Program will feature a presentation and discussion session on franchising models at its international conference on November 27-29, 2001. The conference will focus on interventions to improve access to essential medicines through public-private collaboration. The program will feature case studies from seven country assessments and will provide a forum for discussion of potential interventions. The meeting will be held at the Georgetown University Conference Center in Washington, D.C.