Namibia: Our Impact

On May 21, during the 71st World Health Assembly, member states adopted a new digital health resolution. It urges member states to better utilize digital technologies as a means of promoting equitable, affordable universal health coverage (UHC), including reaching vulnerable populations. The resolution also calls on members to analyze the implications of digital health to achieve health related sustainable development goals.

Bayobuya Phulu, SIAPS Senior Technical Advisor, explains pharmaceutical service delivery during the SIAPS event.Photo Credit: MSH staff

The SIAPS Program wrapped up its years of work in Namibia with an event in Windhoek on March 14. The program has worked in the country since 2011 to strengthen pharmaceutical management, helping to improve access to quality-assured medicines and related skilled services. SIAPS’ activities focused on enhancing pharmaceutical service delivery, health workforce availability, information systems, financing, leadership, and governance.

{Photo Credit: Wezi Tjaronda}Olavi Shomongula shares his testimony with U.S. Ambassador to Namibia Thomas F. Daughton.Photo Credit: Wezi Tjaronda

A new electronic health tool developed by the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program, implemented byMSH, is being used in more than 50 public health facilities in Namibia. This tool—the Facility Electronic Stock Card (FESC)—has noticeably expedited the dispensing of medication to patients. This was evident when the US Ambassador to Namibia H.E. Thomas F. Daughton visited the Intermediate Hospital Oshakati (IHO), which is in the populous Oshana region in the North-Central part of Namibia.

 {Photo courtesy of Sherri Haas}MSH staff at the Global Digital Health Forum 2017.Photo courtesy of Sherri Haas

Management Sciences for Health’s work across the digital health spectrum was shared at the Global Digital Health Forum 2017 (GDHF 2017) in Washington, D.C. December 4-6, 2017. The GDHF is the premier global conference on the use of digital technology for health in low- and middle-income countries. MSH is an Advisory Board Member of the Global Digital Health Network and contributed substantially to development of the conference. The theme this year was The Evolving Digital Health Landscape: Progress, Achievements, and Remaining Frontier.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

 

 {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 emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF/FTC) to prevent HIV infection. The Namibian Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC) approved a generic version of the medicine, Ricovir EM®, which is manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals. It is used in combination with other antiretroviral medications to treat AIDS. When taken daily, it can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV by more than 90%. To date, very few African countries have approved the regimen for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

'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).

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