ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy)

The costs of delivering specific products are poorly understood and ballpark estimates are often used to inadequately plan for the budgetary implications of supply chain expenses. The purpose of this research was to estimate the country level costs of the public sector supply chain for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) from the central to the peripheral levels in Benin and Kenya. A micro-costing approach was used and primary data on the various cost components of the supply chain was collected at the central, intermediate, and facility levels between September and November 2013. Information sources included central warehouse databases, health facility records, transport schedules, and expenditure reports. In Benin, supply chain costs added US$0.20 to the initial acquisition cost of ACT and US$0.34 to RDTs; in Kenya, they added US$0.24 to the acquisition cost of ACT and US$0.19 to RDTs (normalized to US$1). Total supply chain costs accounted for more than 30% of the initial acquisition cost of the products in some cases and these costs were highly sensitive to product volumes. The major cost drivers were found to be labour, transport, and utilities, with health facilities carrying the majority of the cost per unit of product. Product volumes should be considered when costing supply chain functions rather than dollar value. Further work is needed to develop extrapolative costing models that can be applied at country level without extensive micro-costing exercises.

The global demand for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) has grown sharply since its recommendation by the World Health Organization in 2002. However, a combination of financing and programmatic uncertainties, limited suppliers of finished products, information opacity across the different tiers in the supply chain, and widespread fluctuations in raw material prices have together contributed to a market fraught with demand and supply uncertainties and price volatility. Various short-term solutions have been deployed to alleviate supply shortages caused by these challenges; however, new mechanisms are required to build resilience into the supply chain. This review concludes that a mix of strategies is required to stabilize the artemisinin and ACT market. First, better and more effective pooling of demand and supply risks and better contracting to allow risk sharing among the stakeholders are needed. Physical and financial buffer stocks will enable better matching of demand and supply in the short and medium term. Secondly, physical buffers will allow stable supplies when there are procurement and supply management challenges while financial buffer funds will address issues around funding disruptions. Finally, in the medium to long term, significant investments in country level system strengthening will be required to minimize national level demand uncertainties. In addition a voluntary standard for extractors to ensure appropriate purchasing and sales practices as well as minimum quality and ethical standards could help stabilize the artemisinin market in the long term.

Background To improve access to treatment in the private retail sector a new class of outlets known as accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDO) was created in Tanzania. Tanzania changed its first-line treatment for malaria from sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to artemether-lumefantrine (ALu) in 2007. Subsidized ALu was made available in both health facilities and ADDOs.

Background Globally, the monitoring of prompt and effective treatment for malaria with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is conducted largely through household surveys. This measure; however, provides no information on case management processes at the health facility level.

The objective of this study was to implement a rapid assessment of the performance of four malaria control strategies (indoor spraying, insecticide-treated bed nets, timely diagnosis, and artemisinin-based combination therapy) using adequacy criteria. The assessment was carried out in five countries of the Amazon subregion (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Peru). Although ACT is the strategy with the better implementation in all countries, major gaps exist in implementation of the other three malaria control strategies in terms of technical criteria, coverage and quality desired. The countries must implement action plans to close the gaps in the various criteria and thereby improve the performance of the interventions. The assessment tools developed, based on adequacy criteria, are considered useful for a rapid assessment by malaria control authorities in the different countries.

In Tanzania, many people seek malaria treatment from retail drug sellers. The National Malaria Control Program identified the accredited drug dispensing outlet (ADDO) program as a private sector mechanism to supplement the distribution of subsidized artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) from public facilities and increase access to the first-line antimalarial in rural and underserved areas. The ADDO program strengthens private sector pharmaceutical services by improving regulatory and supervisory support, dispenser training, and record keeping practices. The government's pilot program made subsidized ACTs available through ADDOs in 10 districts in the Morogoro and Ruvuma regions, covering about 2.9 million people. As part of the evaluation, 448 ADDO dispensers brought their records to central locations for analysis, representing nearly 70% of ADDOs operating in the two regions. ADDO drug register data were available from July 2007-June 2008 for Morogoro and from July 2007-September 2008 for Ruvuma. During the pilot, over 300,000 people received treatment for malaria at the 448 ADDOs. The percentage of ADDOs that dispensed at least one course of ACT rose from 26.2% during July-September 2007 to 72.6% during April-June 2008. The number of malaria patients treated with ACTs gradually increased, while the use of non-ACT antimalarials declined; ACTs went from 3% of all antimalarials sold in July 2007 to 26% in June 2008.

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