Global Health Impact: Pharmaceutical Management: A Systems Approach to Saving Lives

Global Health Impact: Pharmaceutical Management: A Systems Approach to Saving Lives

{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). 

MSH’s expertise in strengthening pharmaceutical management in low- and middle-income countries is built around a systems approach that emphasizes sustainability and strengthened local capacity—ensuring lasting changes in the systems that support greater access to and use of quality medicines and related pharmaceutical services. This country-led, country-owned, systems approach is paying off in countries across the globe where major strides are being taken toward UHC.

See how a systems approach to medicines and health saves lives in this edition of our Global Health Impact Newsletter (subscribe).


Beyond the Supply Chain: Stronger Pharmaceutical Management Systems Help Countries Achieve Health for All

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

The same trademarks of health systems strengthening are needed to make health—and medicines—for all a reality. Policy makers attempting to establish and maintain UHC programs need a sound understanding of the pharmaceutical sector and system components to ensure ready access to medicines and commodities.

Enabling Improved Patient Safety in Resource-limited Settings: New Tool for Pharmacovigilance

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

A new web-based application developed by MSH through USAID’s SIAPS program helps clinicians, regulatory bodies, and implementing partners in low- and middle-income countries monitor the safety of medicines by addressing the entire data collection, data analysis, and reporting process.

Increasing HIV Testing and Counseling through Improved Health Commodities Management: Kwale County, Kenya

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

With support from the USAID-funded, MSH-led Health Commodities and Services Management (HCSM) project, a hospital in Kwale County, Kenya, increased the number of inpatients tested for HIV from 46 percent in 2014 to 76 percent in 2015.


Managing Medicines Benefits, Making Universal Health Coverage a Reality: A Conversation with Kwesi Eghan

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

MSH’s Kwesi Eghan describes how better management of medicines benefits can help countries make health for all a reality.


Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program

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

Now in its fourth year, the USAID-funded SIAPS program, implemented by MSH, works with partners in 40 countries to assure the availability and use of quality pharmaceutical products and effective pharmaceutical services to achieve better health outcomes.

SIAPS uses a health systems strengthening approach that supports and integrates all core functions of country health systems for greater health impact. Here are four of many examples of SIAPS’ critical health impact. 

  1. Interfacing RxSolution with a Biometric Verification System to Improve Patient Records Management in South Africa

    {Photo credit: SIAPS South Africa}Photo credit: SIAPS South Africa RxSolution, an integrated computerized pharmaceutical information management system developed and managed by SIAPS, is helping health care personnel in 24 Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality facilities manage patients’ medical history and monitor medicines stock and use.

  2. Streamlining Medicines Registration: Pharmadex Launches in Mozambique

    {Photo credit: SIAPS Mozambique}Photo credit: SIAPS Mozambique With Pharmadex, a SIAPS-supported, web-based tool, Mozambique's Ministry of Health can now manage medicines registration applications in one centralized online system.

  3. Namibia: Pharmacy Assistants Trained to Deliver Quality HIV and AIDS Pharmaceutical Services

    {Photo: SIAPS Namibia}Photo: SIAPS Namibia Through SIAPS, MSH has helped the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services establish a quality management system for training pharmacist assistants, such as Martin Mandumbwa (pictured).

  4. OSPSANTE: A New Tool for Tracking Health Commodities in Mali

     SIAPS supported the Mali Ministry of Health in designing and rolling out a web-based dashboard that combines logistics and patients' information in the same platform, providing an early warning system for key public health priority programs, including malaria, maternal and child health, and family planning.


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