Afghanistan MoPH Approves Pharmaceutical Human Resources Framework

 {Photo credit: MSH}Before the historic approval this September, stateholders met to dicuss the draft national strategic framework for pharmaceutical human resources.Photo credit: MSH

The Executive Board of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) formally approved the country’s first national strategic framework for pharmaceutical human resources (HR) on September 28, 2013. The framework helps strengthen the pharmaceutical system and health workforce.

The multi-stakeholder MoPH Pharmaceutical HR Core Group steered framework development with technical and financial support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) Associate Award project. The framework reflects current thinking of the profession, government, NGOs, academia, private sector, donors, and technical partners on ways to build a stronger pharmaceutical workforce that meets the population’s needs.

The framework also responds to key challenges revealed by nation-wide assessments: limited capacity and imbalanced geographical distribution of pharmaceutical workers, inadequate data on these workers and their skills, and inadequate investments in capacity development.

The assessments help close the information gap by providing the MoPH with an unprecedented range of data critical for pharmaceutical HR decision-making. Priority strategic objectives in the framework include projecting public- and private-sector HR requirements, establishing a Pharmacy Council to regulate professionals and accredit pharmacy education, and institutionalizing a national system for competency-based pharmaceutical in-service training.

Afghanistan’s pharmaceutical HR needs are immense and complex. For example, there are seven times as many establishments providing pharmaceutical services as there are pharmacists and pharmacy assistants, indicating that most people providing these services have little or no relevant training. The pharmaceutical HR strategic framework is informed by evidence and will help Afghanistan develop a competent pharmaceutical workforce that is better distributed, retained, managed, and planned for.