Pharmaceutical Management: Our Impact

Dihlabeng Hospital pharmacy personnel and MSH South Africa staff accepting the Centre for Public Sector Innovation award: (bottom L-R) Mrs. A. Marais, Mr. J-P. Sallet, (top L-R) Mrs. M. Khulu, Mr. M. Zuma, Mr. R. Nelson, and Mr. D. Putzier.

Malaria continues to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in many countries, especially in Sub Saharan Africa. In Kenya, malaria alone accounts for 30% of outpatient admittance and up to 5% of inpatient deaths while 170 million working days are lost annually because of it.In 2004, Kenya changed its malaria treatment policy opting for the use of artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT) as first-line therapy for uncomplicated malaria.

Leading child health agencies have joined forces to announce plans to work together on an unprecedented scale to increase access to amoxicillin in dispersible tablet form – the recommended antibiotic treatment for children under five suffering from pneumonia. Download

Dr. Douglas Keene. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Modern medicines, vaccines, and other pharmaceutical products have revolutionized health care, yet budget constraints and poor infrastructure prevent many people in developing countries from accessing even the most basic treatments. Millions die each year from diseases that could have been prevented or treated with modern pharmaceuticals.

Homa Bay TB team, MSF, and SIAPS collaboration. (Photo credit: MSH) Successful treatment of tuberculosis (TB) is one of the key indicators of a TB Control Program’s performance and essential to containing the emergence of anti-TB drug resistance. Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) treatment requires medicines that are expensive, involve longer treatment regimens, are toxic, and can cause patients to have severe side effects.

In Uganda, management of tuberculosis (TB) medicines is fully decentralized. Like other government and private programs, the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program (NTLP) procured and supplied tuberculosis (TB) medicines independently to district stores.

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.