WHO African Region: Ethiopia

WHO Representative’s Keynote address at the workshop for the pharmaceutical Sector Master Plan

Adama Mekonnen Hotel, Nazareth
10 August 2006

Your Excellency, Dr Worku Kebede, State Minister of Health,
Distinguished guests,
Workshop participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and indeed an honour for me to make a key note address on this important consultative work shop for the development of Master plan for the Pharmaceutical Sector in Ethiopia.

The pharmaceutical sector is complex, important and requires careful stewardship. A National Drug Policy provides this guidance to the sector.

A National Drug Policy is a document containing the goals set by the Government for the pharmaceutical sector and the main strategies and approaches for attaining them. It also provides a framework for coordinating the activities of the pharmaceutical sector participants, namely, the public sector, the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), donors and other interested partners.

A National Drug Policy must be within the framework of the health care system and a National health Policy. The goals of the National Drug Policy should always be consistent with the broader health objectives of a given country.

The success of a National Drug Policy depends on the political commitment and support from all stake holders of the pharmaceutical sector. Hence, throughout the policy development, implementation and monitoring phases, there should be consultation, dialogue and negotiation with interested groups and all stake holders of the pharmaceutical sector.

A policy, however carefully formulated, is not worth if it is not implemented. Every drug policy needs an over all implementation plan or “master plan” which provides a detailed strategy and specific action plan for each component of the policy. Moreover, the implementation plan should clearly indicate who is responsible for each action plan, the budget estimate and time frame. Indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the progress of the implementation of the plan and achievement of policy objectives must be developed and incorporated in the plan. Based on the results of the monitoring and evaluation, the National Drug policy should be updated, preferably every five years.

Ethiopia has a National Drug policy issued in 1993 based on the National Health Policy which was formulated in the same year. However, it is felt that its revision has been long overdue. Moreover, there was no comprehensive implementation plan which involves all the stake holders of the pharmaceutical sector.

The Federal Ministry of Health, the Drug Administration and Control Authority (DACA) of Ethiopia and the Pharmaceutical Task Force under the HPN donor Group deserve many thanks for identifying this gap and engaging in the revision of the National Drug policy and development of a five-year master plan for the pharmaceutical sector.

The financial and technical assistance provided by USAID, Irish Aid, the Netherlands Embassy and Italian Cooperation for the development of the master plan needs special mention.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting this process financially and technically. It will also continue to provide this support in the future implementation phase of the Master Plan.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Drug Administration and control Authority of Ethiopia, The Pharmaceutical Task Force and the consultancy firms for organizing this historical consultative work shop and also the participants for coming to take part in this important Endeavour. I wish you fruitful discussion in the following two days.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.