Essential medicines and health products

First EC/ACP/WHO Partnership on Pharmaceutical Policies

What we have achieved

In the resource poor countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, the technical and financial resources made available through the EC/ACP/WHO Partnership on Pharmaceutical policies has enhanced the work of governments and WHO by enabling faster and more widespread implementation of national medicines policies.

In the first 5 years of the Partnership, a total of 1,058 goals have been reached in more than 70 countries. Much has been achieved in the majority of the result areas of the Partnership.

Key Achievements

  • 40 countries developed a National Medicines Policy. Of these, fifteen are ready for implementation and another 15 are in the final stages of the approval process.
  • Data on Pharmaceutical Structures have been collected in 68 countries. Another 20 countries have gone through a comprehensive pharmaceutical assessment, using surveys on access, quality and rational use of medicines.
  • 12 countries have reviewed their intellectual property legislation to protect public health.
  • Medicines Prices have been evaluated and monitored in over 25 countries and the results were used to advocate for lower taxes on pharmaceuticals and higher public expenditure.
  • Assessment of Procurement and Supply carried out in more than 30 countries and 40 countries have strengthened their supply system through training (500 staff trained), IT support (10 countries) and consultancy visits.
  • 8 Countries have participated in the Good Governance Programme with the aim to combat corruption in the pharmaceutical sector through the application of accountable and transparent governance practices.
  • Improved coordination in 10 African countries through the mapping of supply chain partners and enhanced advocacy.
  • Human resources have been strengthened through training in 40 countries (over 2,000 personnel trained) and through assessment of personnel needs in 5 countries.
  • 30 countries have assessed their regulatory system. Over 45 countries received support to strengthen regulation through training (600 personnel trained), development of legislation (15 countries), setting up of pharmacovigilance systems (23 countries) and expanded efforts to combat counterfeit medicines (33 countries).
  • 40 countries have updated their EMLs and STGs and 1,000 health personnel were trained in rational use. Studies on medicine use were carried out in more than 10 countries.
  • 7 sub-regional groups have harmonized policies and regulations and set up schemes for pooled procurement of medicines.
  • Essential tools, manuals and standards have been developed to facilitate the work of countries.

In addition to progress in the eight results areas, there have also been several positive outcomes from the WHO approach to implementing the EC/ACP/WHO Partnership.

An increased number of capacity building activities have been focused on government and WHO country medicines advisers, enhancing their work skills and performance. Through the Partnership, national medicines experts of ACP countries have also benefited from professional development activities: in-country trainings and workshops, inter-country technical collaboration, and the use of WHO tools, manuals and guidelines such as the ones for pharmaceutical assessment, pricing survey and medicines supply management. The nature of the project has also prompted countries to work closely on planning and monitoring activities, consequently adding to their management capabilities.

Cover Page of the emergency guidelines for Fiji

Several regional and sub-regional groups have begun or completed projects to establish common medicines policy guidelines, to coordinate procurement and to harmonize the regulation of medicines. For example, UEMOA is developing common guidelines for medicines registration and Good Manufacturing Practices.

Finally, the health systems strengthening, or “horizontal”, nature of Partnership activities as well as the long-term horizon of the project, have been both positive and stabilizing features in a time period when “vertical” or diseases-specific programmes are on the rise. Meaningful improvements have been observed in regulatory capacity, human resource assessment and planning, and budget management.