Pharmaceutical Management: Our Impact

Despite progress made to reduce tuberculosis globally, it still remains one of the primary infectious causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Drug resistance to the disease has not only grown, but it has also impacted those co-infected with HIV/AIDS. With an increase in awareness by the global community and rising political will, countries are seeing a growth in funding to fight TB through various global initiatives.

One of the new prescription and dispensing logs distributed to facilities through Uganda SURE. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Providing more patient information in medical records and making those records easily accessible helps health care workers ensure that patients take their properly prescribed medicines correctly.

Tanzanian Health Market Innovations awardees in Uganda {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Pharmacies and health care services are not always easily accessible to patients living in developing countries. Many have to walk several miles – if they are able to – just to reach a health care center that can provide them with medicines and treatment.With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has been working with local governments (starting in Tanzania) since 2002 to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and pharmaceutical services by developing accredited retail drug shops in such underserved areas.

With a population of over a million, landlocked Swaziland faces a shortage of skilled healthcare workers, including pharmacy personnel. There are 64 registered pharmacists, with the majority of them belonging to the private sector as an increasing portion of the population battles several communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and the most prevalent – HIV/AIDS.The lack of pharmacy personnel has led to an increase in the number of facilities that use non-pharmaceutical staff to handle medicines and medical supplies, resulting in inefficient pharmaceutical supply management.

Health care staff at Gurei Primary Health Care Center provide patients with drugs after attending their first Leadership Development Program (LDP) session. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Two years ago, the Gurei Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) in Juba, South Sudan was facing a number of operational challenges. In addition to needing a cold storage area for vaccinations, PHCC also had an insufficient number of trained vaccinators and morale was low among the available staff. Within the community they served, PHCC encountered many negative attitudes and incorrect ideas about vaccinations. Residents who brought their children to PHCC for care found that the needed vaccinations were only sporadically available. As a result, the number of children immunized in Juba remained low.

The USAID-funded Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) Program, led by MSH, developed a governance paper to provide USAID health program managers; country-level policy makers, health care managers, and workers; and other stakeholders with an understanding of how governance issues permeate pharmaceutical management and influence the effectiveness of health programs.

Facilitators Tumi Molongoana and Sue Putter engage the Bona Bona Team in Workshop 2 of the Free State - Northern Cape Group October 2011. {Photo credit: Ian Thiessen/MSH.}Photo credit: Ian Thiessen/MSH.

Pharmacy managers in South Africa are often overwhelmed trying to address several daunting workplace challenges at once, such as making sure there is an adequate supply of pharmaceuticals managing efficient quantification of needs and ensuring the optimal use of medicines.

Medicines and supplies that can prevent and treat leading causes of maternal and child morbidity and mortality are widely known, yet millions of pregnant women and newborns cannot access these medicines and supplies when they need them most.USAID’s Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), presented on systems for improving drug management at this year’s Asia Regional Meeting on Interventions for Impact in Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care.

Pharmacist Anitha Nduwimana at the Mutaho district pharmacy (photo credit: MSH).

USAID's regional program, the Amazon Malaria Initiative (AMI), was established to address malaria control in countries that form the Amazon Basin. Initial members included Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname. AMI and its partner organizations helped the countries introduce artemisinin-based combination therapies around 2006 to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which causes the most severe malaria cases.

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