NAMIBIA – The Ministry of Health and Social Services has launched a revised National Medicines Policy (NMP), after 24 years, to guide and develop pharmaceutical services in the country to meet the requirements of locals in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula said there was a need to revise the NMP to be more responsive to emerging health needs within communities and to align objectives and strategies of the policy with current national strategic development plans.

Shangula added that Namibia is looking to strengthen pharmaceutical regulatory capacity; improve health product procurement practices and the warehousing and distribution capacity of the central and regional medical stores.

This is while ensuring supply chain integrity and improving interoperability of health information and pharmaceutical inventory/stock management tools across the supply chain and beyond.

“Other areas to improve include the ability to track and trace products in the supply chain; ensuring uninterrupted availability and affordability of pharmaceuticals to all corners of the country; improving inventory management practices,” he said.

“Improving rational use of medicines; leveraging regional and global best practices in the sector, avoiding duplication of efforts in technical assistance and establishing governance structures that monitor the effective implementation of the NMP and partners’ support towards its implementation.”

He said the policy document, which guides all strategic and operational level activities for the pharmaceutical sector, has 11 strategic objectives, each with several strategies recommended to be employed to facilitate the policy implementationy.

According to Shangula, the launching of the NMP means that the country now has a comprehensive policy framework that guides services in all walks of the pharmaceutical sector

They include training and research; manufacturing; regulation and quality assurance; and pharmaceutical supply, which includes quantification, procurement, inventory management, and stock control, as well as rational use of medicines and related substances.

The objectives cover new, emerging, and re-emerging diseases and medicines; financing and pricing of medicines; global trade in pharmaceuticals; human capacity development; research and development; and technical cooperation and assistance, he said.

Shangula said, over the past 24 years, since the first edition of the NMP was launched, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has made tremendous progress in the provision of pharmaceutical services to all Namibians, both in the public and private sectors.

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