SIAPS Successful Pharmaceutical Systems in South Sudan

January 11, 2017

SIAPS Successful Pharmaceutical Systems in South Sudan

On November 8, 2016, the USAID-funded System for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program convened key stakeholders meeting in Juba, South Sudan to reflect on lessons learned, achievements, and final transition plan as the project conclude its five years of pharmaceutical systems strengthening in the country. “I think we have really effectively assisted the people of South Sudan in the last five years. Really, really impressive work that the project staff did through MSH’s great leadership. I am very proud of everyone who worked together with the Ministry of Health for pulling together,” said Jeffrey Bakken, USAID South Sudan Mission Director.   

From October 2011 to October 2016, SIAPS provided technical support to the Ministry of Health to ensure effective functioning of Drugs and Food Authority, and Central Medical Stores whose work has effectively improved monitoring of essential medicines and curbed the flow of substandard and counterfeit medicines into the country. By the end of its fifth year, SIAPS had coordinated the distribution of essential medicines and medical supplies worth over $53 million of the Emergency Medicines Fund (EMF) to 80 counties in South Sudan.  

“During the last five years of project implementation, SIAPS as the lead technical advisor to the Ministry of Health together with the donor and health partners demonstrated commitment to the development of innovative approaches to effectively resolve various pharmaceutical management challenges in the country, ” said Dr. Bortel Ohisa, Director of Central Medical Stores.  

SIAPS strengthened pharmaceutical supply chain management at the national, state, and county levels through the provision of training for 1,000 health workers and improvement medicine storages facilities. SIAPS built the capacity of health workers and equipped medical stores with logistical equipment and pharmaceuticals management information tools. SIAPS supported the establishment of the Ministry of Health Logistics Management Unit and introduced pharmaceutical management tools like the Electronic Dispensing Tool to manage antiretrovirals in Juba Teaching Hospital and a pharmaceutical dashboard for the Ministry of Health to generate critical data on the consumption of essential medicines.  

“Through these efforts, together, we were able to effectively coordinate distribution of essential medicines and supplies to all counties in the country and to overcome the challenging security, political and logistical obstacles. It quite a feat…everybody pulled together and made this project work,” says Bakken.  

SIAPS also worked with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to enhance planning, coordination, and implementation of malaria control and prevention activities in South Sudan. The program provided technical assistance to ensure the successful distribution of malaria commodities including the development and dissemination of malaria treatment guidelines and policy documents. In addition, the completion and dissemination of two Malaria Indicator Surveys in 2010 and 2013.    

“Although SIAPS project has come to an end, USAID remains committed to supporting pharmaceutical supply chain management strengthening in South Sudan. We have a new project coming online to provide technical assistance – called the Global Supply Chain project,” said Bakken. He noted that the new project will consolidate all USAID supply, procurement, and distribution of pharmaceuticals across all their health projects. Through this new project, USAID hopes to continue collaborating and building partnerships will all health partners and donors in South Sudan.

“As we all know the challenges facing South Sudan are perhaps greater than ever. Only by working together and in the best interest of all the people of South Sudan, can we hope to overcome these challenges and meet critical health needs of the people of South Sudan. Congratulations to Management Sciences for Health, SIAPS project team, and the Ministry of Health for the job well done,” said Bakken.