Pharmaceutical Management: Our Impact

Dispensing medication with bare hands is a global issue. Despite numerous informal campaigns, the bare hand counting of medicines remains fairly common in Africa, Central Asia, South East Asia, and several Latin American and Caribbean countries. Even if medicines are of good quality, they are often counted out with bare hands. As a result, medicines can become contaminated and may not work properly, leading to possibly serious health implications. A comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges of dispensing medications is needed to counter this practice.

April 25 is World Malaria Day, a time to recognize the global effort to fight against a disease that afflicts more than half a billion people across the globe. Malaria is not only a major cause of illness and death in developing countries but also a significant drain on their overstressed health systems and fragile economies. Especially in Africa, malaria is linked to high rates of infant and maternal death, chronic anemia, and complications that increase the severity of other diseases.

On the eve of the International Donors' Conference Towards a New Future in Haiti to be held in New York on March 31, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), urged donors to consider a successful two-pronged development approach that has led to improved health in Haiti."The two-pronged approach is grounded in the principle that the Haitian government must ultimately lead the process but also work together in partnership with NGOs and the private sector," said Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSH.

The earthquake on January 12, 2010 left the central medical stores for the government of Haiti, known as PROMESS (Program on Essential Medicine and Supplies), damaged and the distribution systems bottlenecked.  As emergency relief supplies arrived in Haiti, PROMESS' systems were unable to manage the large volume of incoming supplies coupled with the urgent demand for additional drugs and medical supplies.PROMESS is managed on behalf of the Haitian Ministry of Health by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

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.

Despite the many challenges of working in Haiti following the January 12 earthquake, MSH’s Leadership, Management, and Sustainability (LMS) program distributed more than 1 million family planning commodities in the month following the disaster. This included over 1.2 million condoms; 44,000 oral contraceptives; 33,200 injectable methods; and 100 implants. During the distribution, LMS carried out site evaluations throughout the country to ensure that it was still possible to manage the products according to established standards for US Government-supported health sites.

The Supply Chain Management System (SCMS)'s dedicated staff in Haiti is distributing kits of medicines and other medical supplies from existing stock in the project warehouse to 14 hospitals in Port-au-Prince. Our team is also focusing on preventing interruption in medications used for antiretroviral therapy (ART).The staff had helped treat the wounded immediately after the earthquake.

If you have or are looking for information on MSH staff, please contact: 617.250.9500 or haitiinfo@msh.org.If looking for US citizens in Haiti, contact the US State Department: 888-407-4747.If you would like to donate to earthquake relief, please visit: www.redcross.org or www.savethechildren.org.A strong earthquake, registering at a magnitude 7.0, struck Haiti yesterday evening ten miles southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince, devastating the city and surrounding areas. Casualties are reported in the thousands.

On November 12, 2009, Uganda’s Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Stephen Malinga, officially launched the opening of Accredited Drug Shops (ADS) in Kibaale district in front of a crowd of about 500 people, including national and local government officials; representatives from the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda; who collaborated on the ADS implementation; newly accredited ADS attendants and owners, who had completed a comprehensive training on drug dispensing regulations; and community members.

Some of the 700 participants of the male involvement program in Kebbi state, Nigeria. Photo Credit: MSH StaffOn October 20, 2009, 700 men attended a town hall meeting in the Argungu emirate in Kebbi state, hosted by MSH and the United States Agency for International Development, to discuss the vital role of men in maternal and child health in order to promote HIV & AIDS prevention, care, and treatment services in northwestern Nigeria.

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