Namibia: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: Wezi Tjaronda (MSH/SIAPS Namibia)}Pharmacist in charge of the Facility Electronic Stock Card (FESC) at Oshakati Hospital, Tesema Zelalem (seated) shows the US Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton (right) and Senior Pharmacist of the hospital, Mesele Walellign a print out of available medicines in the pharmacy, from the FESC computer on July 13, 2017.Photo credit: Wezi Tjaronda (MSH/SIAPS Namibia)

The U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Thomas Daughton, visited a hospital and clinic in the Oshana region of Namibia last week to unveil a new electronic stock card, an innovation that has greatly improved service delivery in the country.

 {Photo credit: SIAPS Namibia}ART Pharmacy in Oshikuku District Hospital, Omusati Region, Namibia.Photo credit: SIAPS Namibia

In a major advance against the spread of HIV, Namibia has approved the use of Truvada to prevent HIV infection.

'Good Morning Namibia' interviewed MSH Country Director Evans Sagwa about the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) project, funded by USAID and implemented by MSH. In the interview, Sagwa spoke about the importance of strong pharmaceutical systems and SIAPS' impact on the country. Among other topics, Sagwa discussed SIAPS' work to improve the availability and accessibility of medicines, fight against HIV and AIDS, and strengthen the health system in Namibia.

 {Photo Credit: SIAPS Namibia} Senior Pharmacist Assistant George Lukonga dispenses ARVs using the EDT at Katima Mulilo HospitalPhoto Credit: SIAPS Namibia

George Lukonga, the senior pharmacist assistant at the Katima Mulilo Hospital in the Zambezi region of Namibia, is accustomed to dealing with 200 to 300 patients on antiretroviral therapy every day. The Zambezi region has an HIV prevalence rate of 23.7 percent. Dispensing antiretrovirals to the hundreds of patients who visit the pharmacy daily was a daunting task, so Lukonga's colleagues were trained to use the electronic dispensing tool, better known as EDT.

 {Photo: SIAPS Namibia, September 2015}Martin Mandumbwa, PA, dispensing medicines to a patient at Robert Mugabe Clinic in Windhoek, Namibia.Photo: SIAPS Namibia, September 2015

Namibia faces a high burden of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, with an estimated 13.1 percent of the adult population living with HIV. To help address this critical national health concern, the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has been receiving technical assistance from the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, with funding from the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through US Agency for International Development (USAID), and led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

Kwesi Eghan, courtesy.

Used appropriately, medicines save lives, decrease effect or cure diseases, and improve quality of life. Medicines are also key determinants of health care quality, and can be among the most cost-effective uses of scarce health care resources. At the same time, management of medicines is a major source of inefficiencies in health care systems around the world...- Kwesi Eghan We spoke with Kwesi Eghan, MSc, MBA, BPharm, about the role of medicine and sound medicines benefits management for countries to successfully achieve universal health coverage.

 {Photo credit: SIAPS Namibia staff/MSH.}A health worker in Namibia using the Electronic Dispensing Tool (EDT).Photo credit: SIAPS Namibia staff/MSH.

When a pharmaceutical information management tool was adopted in Namibia, not only did its functionality improve health service delivery, but it also eased the burden on healthcare workers. Although HIV incidence is dropping, roughly 13 percent of adults in Namibia were infected with HIV in 2012. In some areas of the country, however, prevalence is much higher. In the Oshana region, about 28 percent of adults were living with HIV in 2010.

How do you measure the overall health of an organization? Evaluating a person’s health is relatively easy – doctors around the world agree on the basic concepts of physical health, and measurements and standards have been well established for “ideal” height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and other components of health.

An uninterrupted and reliable supply of essential medicines including antiretrovirals (ARVs) remains crucial to the optimum management of HIV infection and other chronic diseases. The availability of accurate information on current stocks enables the estimation of future requirements.

After several years of collaboration between Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) and MSH, a significant milestone was recently reached when a local telecommunications company, MTC, signed a contract with the MoHSS to continue the support of an electronic antiretroviral (ARV) management tool and a national database of ARV dispensing information. Both were developed by MSH in collaboration with the MoHSS—and fully handed off to the MoHSS by MSH earlier this year.

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