Members of the Bangladesh study tour visit an ADDO in Tanzania. Photo Credit: Jafary LianaMembers of the Bangladesh study tour visit an ADDO in Tanzania. Photo Credit: Jafary Liana

In recent years, global health stakeholders have begun to recognize the profound potential that drug shops have to advance public health goals, such as those related to malaria diagnosis and treatment, child health, and family planning. These outlets, for reasons of convenience and cost, are the first choice of care for millions of people - and until recently, they have largely been ignored.

“Drug shops and pharmacies are important sources of health care, particularly in rural areas or urban slums with few public clinics. They are often the first stop for women and men who seek FP information or services.”  - World Health Organization

This is why, in 2003, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) helped launch the Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet (ADDO) Program in Tanzania to address the important role of these informal drug sellers by creating certain standards that, when met, increase the quality of medicines and services in the community. Tanzania’s successful ADDO Program provides a model that other countries in Africa—and now Asia—have adapted and made their own.

Pharmacy staff at Felege Hiwot Hospital in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Photo Credit: Tsion Issayas/MSHPharmacy staff at Felege Hiwot Hospital in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Photo Credit: Tsion Issayas/MSH

This story was originally published by SIAPS.

Over its six years working in dozens of countries, SIAPS has carried out a vision for health system strengthening that USAID developed and has supported for more than two decades. In partnership with countries and organizations, the agency has led pharmaceutical systems strengthening interventions that have helped countries deliver affordable, quality-assured medicines and related products and services.

SIAPS has had the privilege of carrying out significant tasks under the USAID mandate. Through this project and its predecessors–SPS, RPM Plus and RPM–we’ve been following a systems strengthening framework, digging in with activities that address governance, human resource capacity, information management, financial strategies, and effective services.

Arlington, VA— A new compendium released today by the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, implemented by Management Sciences for Health, offers an in-depth look at 12 innovative and promising efforts to strengthen pharmaceutical systems. Released via a new website, Case Studies in Pharmaceutical Systems Strengthening documents the lasting effect of interventions on the people, processes, and structures that comprise a pharmaceutical system and includes actionable lessons and recommendations.

Ebola health care workers at a home during the October 2014 outbreak. Photo Credit: Fred Hartman/MSHEbola health care workers at a home during the October 2014 outbreak. Photo Credit: Fred Hartman/MSH

 Arlington, VA—Management Sciences for Health (MSH) stands with the global health community, and with the millions of people we serve across the globe each day, to urge the U.S. government to reconsider planned reductions to programs that are essential to health and national security, and to focus on continuing to invest in strengthening health systems in the world’s poorest countries.

Photo Credit: Warren ZelmanPhoto Credit: Warren Zelman

This story was originally published on the SIAPS Program homepage

To be fully effective, health system strengthening projects should have sustainable impact and lay the groundwork for future progress. Here’s how SIAPS’ work supported health system reform in Ukraine.

SIAPS worked in Ukraine for four years, from 2013 through 2017. Ukraine has the most severe HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the second highest TB burden in Europe. Ukraine has the highest mortality rate from infectious diseases in the WHO/Euro region, with TB, HIV, and AIDS accounting for 90% of all deaths.

However, the country’s health system was poorly equipped to cope. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a centrally controlled health system that funded about half of health expenditures as of 2014. Out-of-pocket payments accounted for more than 46% of the rest, and a third of that was for medicines, which are expensive. That meant affordable medicines were out of reach for many people, as well as the medicines essential to treating these diseases.

{Photo Credit: Liza Talukder}Jahidul Hasan works on the adverse drug event report.Photo Credit: Liza Talukder

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA)—with technical assistance from the USAID-funded SIAPS program, implemented by MSH—officially launched Bangladesh’s national pharmacovigilance (PV) program in 2013. After being first introduced at 20 private and public hospitals, and 13 pharmaceutical companies, the DGDA and SIAPS have organized trainings for focal persons to build their skills and knowledge on PV and increase adverse drug event (ADE) reporting.

{Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina}Lynda Razafiharilalao, a Malagasy community health volunteer, shows various modules of the mHealth app to a fellow volunteer.Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina

In rural areas of Madagascar, community health volunteers (CHVs) are instrumental in improving maternal and child health services. Their activities include raising awareness on healthy behaviors, child growth monitoring, family planning counseling and services, and treatment of simple illnesses, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. As CHVs are part of Madagascar’s health system, their activity reports feed into the national health information system.

{Photo Credit: MSH}Community members discuss plague response.Photo Credit: MSH

Bubonic plague is endemic in Madagascar. Typically, the country experiences 400 to 600 cases of the disease each year. However, in 2017 the plague also took the pneumonic form. Between August 1 and November 26 there were 2,417 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of plague, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than three-quarters of the cases were clinically classified as pneumonic.

{Photo Credit: Warren Zelman}Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

On the fifth anniversary of the UHC movement, we reflect on a few key steps to reach UHC.

In the five years since the United Nations adopted the momentous resolution that established the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) movement—achieving equitable, affordable access to high-quality health services for all who need them—countries have made significant progress toward providing basic health services to large segments of the population. This year marks an important moment for advancing UHC, as the new Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has made it abundantly clear that UHC is a priority for his administration.

That is great news. We have seen more countries and institutions working toward practical interventions that will make UHC a reality. We have seen them make financial and managerial commitments that will be critical for the global health community to achieve this noble, oft-lifesaving goal. But more work remains.

 

Achieving UHC through governance and financing

 

{Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/USAID Mikolo Project}Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/USAID Mikolo Project

Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a non-profit global health organization dedicated to saving lives and improving the health of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, announced today its renewed commitment to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) by pledging to utilize its network of global, regional, and country projects to plan, support, sustain, and advocate for family planning programs that will serve nearly 1.2 million women by 2020.

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