Access to health services, qualified healthcare staff and medicines are necessary components of any healthcare system. Of these 3 components, medicines are of special importance for various reasons: they save lives, improve health, promote trust and participation in health services and they are very costly. Communities, quite understandably, equate the quality of healthcare primarily with the availability of basic essential medicines.
Acknowledging this fact, Uganda adopted a National Drug Policy (NDP) to contribute to the attainment of a good standard of health by the population, through ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability at all times of essential drugs of appropriate quality, safety and efficacy, and by promoting their rational use.
However, there has not been any systematic evaluation of the outcomes of the NDP since its adoption in 1993 and implementation to-date.
Therefore the Ministry of Health, with financial and technical assistance from the World Health Organization and in collaboration with Health Action International, undertook this pharmaceutical sector baseline survey to monitor progress and identify any issues that need to be addressed in the pharmaceutical sector especially at this stage of initiating systematic implementation of the revised NDP.
The results of this survey have provided us with key information that is being used to plan and implement evidence-based interventions to address the shortcomings identified during the survey that affect access, quality and rational use of essential medicines.
This survey also provides a baseline for future periodic reviews that will monitor progress in the pharmaceutical sector to inform the Ministry of the necessary changes and priority areas that need support and focused attention to enable us realise the goals of the National Health policy in general and National Drug Policy in particular.
Prof. F.G. Omaswa
Director General Health Services