The MSH program, which will be carried out in East Africa, will create a sustainable model to replicate and scale up private-sector drug seller initiatives based on the Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet (ADDO) program in Tanzania.
According to a statement released to Africa Science News Service, the resulting model and experiences will serve as examples for other countries and regions facing similar challenges in increasing access to medicines.
The East African Drug Seller Initiative addresses the problem of people in developing countries seeking advice and medicines from retail drug sellers who are largely untrained and unregulated.
As a result, customers are less likely to receive quality pharmaceutical care and products or to be counseled on proper medicines and their correct doses.
To achieve the initiative's goal, MSH intends to focus on helping a regional organization become an advocate and facilitator for the implementation of private-sector drug seller initiatives in member countries; revise the current ADDO model in Tanzania to strengthen its financial sustainability and institutionalize the public/private partnership roles to provide a scalable model for other countries; and develop a plan to adapt the ADDO model for replication in a second East African country and demonstrate the adapted model in one district.
This grant builds on earlier MSH accomplishments through the Strategies for Enhancing Access to Medicines (SEAM) Program, also funded by the Gates Foundation.
From 2000-2005, the program worked to improve access to quality medicines and services at retail drug outlets that often provide first-line health care, especially for those who live in remote, underserved areas.
The results from SEAM form the foundation for the East African Drug Sellers Initiative. According to MSH, the status of health across the African continent is threatened not only by poverty, but also by civil wars and natural disasters.
With new leadership and peaceful transitions slowly emerging, infectious diseases like malaria—a bigger killer than AIDS—continue to cause needless suffering and to challenge the social fabric of the continent's diverse nations.
The AIDS epidemic has further devastated health systems and is decimating communities and the teachers and health personnel that support them.
MSH and its African partners have strengthened the capacity of public and private organizations to meet these challenges.
With offices in fifteen countries, MSH works in cross-cutting areas to improve the systems needed to deliver health care effectively and to expand the cadre of trained health personnel needed to advance the health of the African people.