Essential medicines and health products

Development of Country Profiles and monitoring of the pharmaceutical situation in countries

Assessment of the Pharmaceutical Situation in SADC Member States

WHO has committed to supporting the SADC secretariat in implementing its Pharmaceutical Business Plan, whose overall objective is to reduce disease burden throughout the community by ensuring the availability of essential medicines, including African traditional medicines. As part of this collaboration, WHO assisted SADC countries in conducting a comprehensive evaluation of their pharmaceutical situation.

To establish a baseline assessment, a new questionnaire on the pharmaceutical situation was developed using existing tools created by WHO and other partners. The questionnaire was filled in with data made available by global sources (e.g. WHO Statistical System) as well as the libraries within the Essential Medicines Department of WHO. This included not only the 2007 Level I Survey, but also country-specific assessments like the Level II facility survey and the WHO/HAI pricing surveys, for example.

The completed questionnaires were then sent to all 15 SADC countries for review by public officials who made corrections and- where necessary- populated any missing data fields. A local consultant was recruited in each country to oversee the process and collect information from key agencies (Department of Pharmaceuticals, Central Medical Store, etc.). The respondents' names were registered with the questionnaires, both to facilitate any needed follow-up and as an accountability measure to guarantee information accuracy. A senior official in each country was requested to validate the questionnaire and provide permission for publication on the SADC and WHO web sites.

The data collected in this process have been used to develop a pharmaceutical profile for each of the SADC member states and to develop a report on the pharmaceutical situation in the Southern African Community.