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Washington, DC
Africa | Zambia
2014-02-12T17:02:46Z | 2014-02-12T17:02:46Z | 2013-04

Health experts and policymakers want people to have access to affordable and high-quality medical care. But in some developing countries, making quality healthcare available may first necessitate ensuring that essential medicines are available, such as anti-malaria pills and antibiotics. The challenge of guaranteeing a steady supply is not only related to the financial side of paying for medicines. Zambia, the World Bank supported a project exploring how to guarantee the availability of essential medicines in often-remote health facilities. Based on the results, clinics in districts that were part of the pilot study are now able to order drugs directly from a central pharmacy. Donors and the Government of Zambia are working together to expand the program to the rest of the country. A pilot program, consisting of two different models for distribution, was initiated to test the best way to overcome the bottleneck at the district level. In Model A, a commodity planner was put in place at the district level. In Model B, health facilities submitted orders directly to the central Medical Stores Limited. The pilot underscores that successful distribution of drugs is about more than just money-or having the right amount of stocks available in central locations. Ensuring that medicines get to clinics is critical for a functioning health system.


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