|An innovative drugs scheme supported by Self Help Africa in Ethiopia has enabled health centres in the country to remain stocked with vital medical supplies.|
Revolving drug schemes have allowed health centres and clinics to maintain stocks of medicine, and has ensured access for patients to drug treatments when they are required.
Responding to needs which were expressed during meetings with local community representatives, Self Help established a series of revolving drug dispensaries at health clinics within it’s Ethiopian project areas.
The scheme was first initiated at Meki Health Centre in the Sodo District, after it had emerged that state allocations of drugs were inadequate, and that the €8,000 quarterly spend on medicines was often being used up in a matter of weeks.
‘Although there is a fully staffed clinic in the town, it often ran out of its stock of prescription drugs. As a result the people were going and paying exorbitant prices for drugs from local profiteers – without knowing whether the medicines they were buying were appropriate for their conditions’, explains Self Help’s Hailu Gebre-Mariam.
Self Help established it’s pilot revolving drugs scheme in Meki by purchasing €10,000 worth of drugs for sale to the public at fractionally above the purchase price.
‘The scheme has been a huge success since it’s inception, with all of the funds generated from the sale of drugs going directly into staffing and administring the scheme, and into the purchase of replacement drugs’, explains Health Centre director Taye Gebaba. ‘Not only has it kept the Meki Health Centre in stocks of medicines, but it has also ensured that drugs are being dispensed by people with the appropriate qualifications’.
Similar ‘revolving drug scheme’ initiatives have been established by Self Help at clinics and health centres across it’s project areas in Ethiopia, and the concept is currently being looked at by the government, who have signalled their interest in adopting the idea on a wider national level.