Namibia: Our Impact

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.

Napembe Kefasi at the Katutura Health Centre in Windhoek, Namibia. Photo Credit: MSH Staff.With a population of over 2 million, 204,000 people are currently living with HIV in Namibia—more than 80,000 are in need of treatment. AIDS has become and continues to be the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, accounting for three quarters of all hospital admissions and nearly half of the deaths.

MSH staff reported on the results of projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, and Rwanda at this year’s meeting of agencies that implement programs funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Windhoek, Namibia, from June 10 to 14. The meeting brought together about 1,500 people from 55 countries to share best practices and lessons learned in the fight against AIDS.

MSH: What is your role at MSH?JN: I am the Country Program Manager for Namibia for the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) Program. MSH: What is MSH doing in Namibia?JN: MSH is working in Namibia under the centrally funded SPS Program. SPS implements the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) to strengthen pharmaceutical systems for the delivery of antiretroviral therapy programs.

As the Rational Pharmaceutical Management (RPM) Plus Program draws to a close, the Program Director, Dr. Douglas Keene of MSH, reviewed the successes of almost a decade of contributions to improved pharmaceutical management. He spoke at the annual conference of the Global Health Council in Washington, DC, on May 28, 2008. Getting Help to People in Need

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