SIAPS

Photo Credit: Tsion Issayas/MSH

This post was originally published on the SIAPS website on January 30, 2017. The Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program is funded by USAID and implemented by MSH. This project works to assure the availability of quality pharmaceutical products and effective pharmaceutical services.

Over the past two decades, Ethiopia has improved its delivery of primary health care services and begun to make great progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals, particularly with regard to maternal, newborn, and child health and the prevention and control of HIV and tuberculosis. Yet pharmaceutical services—a patient's last point of care and one of the country's single largest health care expenses—remain inadequate. While some medicines in stock expire, other needed medicines are frequently unavailable, and patients are dissatisfied with the poor quality of service they receive.

 {Photo credit: Warren Zelman Photography}A pharmacy/clinic window in Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo credit: Warren Zelman Photography

Strong health systems are necessary to help prevent and mitigate epidemics, including the oft-overlooked epidemic of antimicrobial resistance.

This is the third post in a new series on improving the health of the poorest and most vulnerable women, girls, families, and communities by prioritizing prevention and preparing health systems for epidemics (see also: Part 1 and Part 2). Join the conversation online with hashtag .

 {Photo credit: Alan Levine via Flickr / CC BY}Vials of insulin. Diabetes medicines and health technologies, including lifesaving insulin, are available in only one in three of the world’s poorest countries.Photo credit: Alan Levine via Flickr / CC BY

Cross-posted with permission from Devex.com.

The World Health Organization’s first global report on diabetes released this month highlights the disease’s “alarming surge” with rates that have quadrupled in fewer than three decades. The report reminds us that essential diabetes medicines and health technologies, including lifesaving insulin, are available in only one in three of the world’s poorest countries.

Availability of medicines is certainly an important piece of the complex challenge of ensuring that health systems seamlessly integrate prevention, screening, referral, treatment, and adherence. However, choosing the best way to spend limited public health budgets amid competing priorities is equally important.

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

"Medicines are a key component of treatments to save lives"

~ Kwesi Eghan, trained Ghanian pharmacist and MSH portfolio manager for the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program in South Sudan and Afghanistan

A child in Tanzania has a fever for three days. A pregnant woman in Namibia is taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat HIV and prevent transmission of HIV to her baby. A man in Swaziland suffers from drug-resistant TB and struggles to adhere to treatment.

Who helps ensure they take the right drug, at the right time, and for the right reason?

A pharmacist.

In many developing countries, pharmacists are primarily responsible for medicines selection, procurement, distribution, and explaining rational use of these medicines to their patients. But, many low- and middle-income countries suffer shortages of trained pharmacists. MSH and partners are helping countries and communities ensure that pharmacists and related health workers are equipped with the skills, systems, and support to provide quality services every day.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

A version of this post originally appeared on the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program blog. SIAPS is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH).

More than 900,000 children die of pneumonia each year. Many of these cases go undiagnosed and untreated. The countdown to 2015 report notes that only 54 percent of children with pneumonia symptoms are taken to a health care provider, while the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea reports that only 31 percent of children with suspected pneumonia receive antibiotics.

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

Medicines are a critical component of quality health care. In fact, most of the leading causes of death and disability in low- and middle-income countries could be prevented or treated with the appropriate use of affordable, effective medicines.

Yet, about two billion people—one third of the world’s population—lack consistent access to essential medicines. Fake and substandard medicines exacerbate the problem. When these people fall ill and seek treatment, too often they end up with small quantities, high prices, poor quality, and the wrong drug. This leads to prolonged suffering, and even death.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is a global leader on pharmaceutical management and universal health coverage (UHC). 

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

In 2012, the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the concept of universal health coverage (UHC), urging governments everywhere to “provide all people with access to affordable, quality health care services”. Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program are among global champions for UHC and joined global leaders celebrating UHC’s notable inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last Fall. Now, we continue to help countries face the obstacles of making UHC a reality.

Access to medicines has not always been at the forefront of the global discourse on UHC, which instead has tended to focus on financing. UHC programs must include adequate health financing and coverage of essential medicines if they are to deliver meaningful health outcomes. Policymakers attempting to establish and maintain UHC programs therefore need to have a sound understanding of the pharmaceutical sector and those pharmaceutical system components that must be considered to ensure ready access to the pharmaceuticals needed to support any UHC program.

{Photo Credit: Warren Zelman}Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

The universal health coverage (UHC) movement has reached a turning point. With an unprecedented coalition of global partners rallying behind the UHC movement, the inclusion of UHC as a key aim of the newly launched sustainable development goals, and growing recognition of health as a human right, the real work of achieving UHC has begun – many countries are now grappling with the challenge of making UHC a reality.

As a key partner in bringing the UHC agenda to the forefront of the global community MSH is on the leading edge of translating this global momentum into tangible gains for women, children, and families at the country level. This UHC Day, MSH is working to advance by recognizing that UHC means that people should have access to not only the health services they need, but also to the essential medicines and heath commodities that help to treat many of the most serious global health threats.

Ensuring equitable and affordable access to medicines is a key component of achieving UHC, but one that is often left out of the conversation. As many low- and middle-income countries start implementing a range of UHC policies, programs, and initiatives, MSH is taking steps to ensure that access to medicines remains on the agenda.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}MSH staff at IAS2015 included: Dr. Ndulue Nwokedi, Deputy Project Director, Pro-ACT; Dr. Ginika Egesimba, Senior Clinical Advisor, TB/HIV, Pro-ACT; Emmanuel Nfor, Principal Technical Advisor, SIAPS; Dr. Andrew Etsetowaghan, Clinical Advisor, PMTCT, Pro-ACT.Photo credit: MSH staff.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) presented seven abstracts at the 8th International Aids Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015) in Vancouver, Canada, July 19-22, 2015.

{Photo credit: MSH staff/Afghanistan}Photo credit: MSH staff/Afghanistan

“I started feeling this coughing… so I went to the health center and got tested. It was positive for TB,” says Grace*, a young Ugandan woman. She started on medicines, but after two months, she stopped adhering to treatment.

They told me to continue with the drugs for five more months, but I stopped.

I thought I was ok.

She started coughing again, went to the hospital, and was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). MDR-TB cannot be treated with two of the most powerful first-line treatment anti-TB drugs. Her treatment regimen? Six months of injections and two years of drugs.

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