Monitoring, evaluating, and assessing the pharmaceutical situation in countries are important for determining if people have access to essential medicines that are safe, efficacious, and of good quality, and that are being used properly.
The World Health Organization in collaboration with Health Action International - Africa supported the Ministry of Health, Uganda in carrying out a baseline survey assessing the pharmaceutical situation based on Levels I and II indicators as described in the Operational Package for Monitoring and Assessing the Pharmaceutical Situation in Countries.
The assessment was carried out in four geographic and socio-economically representative districts with a study population of 20 randomly selected public health facilities, 20 public pharmacies, 20 private pharmacies/drug outlets, 5 central/district medicines warehouses, and 300 households.
Using standard indicators, data were collected for the availability of key essential medicines, duration of stock-outs, rational drug use, household health care-seeking behaviour and access to prescribed medicines.
The median percentage availability of key medicines was 75% in public health facilities, and 55% in district warehouses. The median stock out duration of the basket of key drugs in public health facilities and district warehouses was found to be 89.3 days (~3 months) and 182 days (~6 months) respectively. The median antibiotic and injection use in public health facilities was found to be 61.9% and 29.5% respectively.
The majority of the households sought healthcare from public health services, and 28 percent of the people could not obtain prescribed medicines due to economic and availability factors.
There was unacceptably high stock-out duration of key medicines and use of antibiotics and injections in public health facilities.
This baseline survey provides key information that will be used to plan and implement interventions to address under-performing areas identified in the assessment, which affect access, quality and rational use of essential medicines.
It also provides a baseline for periodic review of work in the pharmaceuticals area so that adjustments may be made according to needs and performance.