This policy brief focuses on providing essential drugs and equipment in Nigeria. Poor provision of drugs and equipment in public health facilities has had a negative impact on patient attendance in many Nigerian States, with patients seeing little point in visiting facilities that do not provide them with drugs.
In an effort to reverse this situation, the DFID-funded Partnership for Transforming Health Systems Programme (PATHS) and the Health Commodities Project (HCP) worked in partnership with state stakeholders from 2004 to 2008. While HCP’s focus was on providing drugs and equipment, PATHS focused on establishing the necessary underpinning health sub-systems and supporting the strengthening of linkages between health providers, and communities.
The difficulties involved in improving a poorly functioning drug supplies management system and in modifying entrenched prescribing habits among drug providers and medical equipment users tend to be grossly underestimated in many health programmes. In this light the synergistic impact of PATHS and HCP has achieved much in a relatively short period, substantially improving key processes and systems involved in the quantification, procurement, distribution, use and safe storage of medical equipment and drug supplies.
As a result of efforts made over 100 containers of drugs and equipment to the tune of £12.9 million have been purchased targeting over 900 facilities in 5 Nigerian states plus the Federal Capital Territory since 2005. Increased drug availability has led to a marked increase in patient attendance at health facilities, as illustrated by Enugu state where patient attendance to selected facilities increased by an average 55 percent annual increase.
Key steps needed for the Strategies adopted by the partners to meet the required standards:
- Strengthening key systems
- Undertaking robust quantification exercises
- Commodities management
- Capacity building
- Monitoring and supervision