ADP BlogGhana’s Minister of Health applauds the ADP’s support in the development of the National Medicines Policy

Blog By Belynda Amankwa On 24 Aug 2016 Read 2420

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Ghana has recently developed the third edition of the National Medicines Policy (NMP), which expresses the government’s commitment towards “the goal of ensuring universal access to affordable essential medicines of assured quality to all people of Ghana”. It encompasses broad policy objectives for evidence-based decision-making that is in line with global best practice on issues of medicines selection, access, pricing, safety and supply; and seeks to provide guidance on establishing sustainable measures towards universal health coverage.

Since mid-2015, the ADP has been providing technical support to the MOH’s designated technical working group (TWG) in finalizing the policy text and the development of related tools and guidelines for effective implementation. These complementary components of the NMP include an implementation plan which provides a concrete framework to prioritize key activities, roles and responsibilities, and allocation of resources; a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan to track implementation progress and results; and an advocacy and communications plan to raise stakeholder awareness of the policy goals and to mobilize resources. These components were deemed necessary to ensure that actions to implement the national medicines policy were appropriately costed and monitored. Recently, Ghana’s Minister of Health articulated his appreciation for the ADP’s contribution to the NMP development process: “[ADP] stepped in, where there was still a gap, to add their technical advice, just when it was needed most.”

As part of the ADP’s support, a multi-stakeholder consultation was held in September 2015 to provide a cross-sectoral platform that discussed the draft NMP and its complementary components. As a follow-up, in June 2016, the ADP again supported the TWG in convening another multi-stakeholder consultation for further technical review and refinement, and accelerate the finalization of the NMP and its complementary components. A broad range of participants from health and non-health government agencies deliberated on the operational management of the NMP, and reached a consensus on key priorities, indicators of success and implementation timeframe.

Immediately following the technical consultation, a high-level roundtable discussion was held involving key policy- and decision-makers, including the Minister of Health, members of the Steering Committee and Technical Working Group, and representatives from WHO and UNIDO. At this meeting, policymakers and experts discussed the respective roles of various government agencies and the private sector in supporting the NMP, and agreed on a roadmap towards its launch and effective implementation. The Health Minister re-affirmed the government’s commitment by giving his assurance of “…the political will and leadership of the Government to fast track the adoption and full scale implementation of the policy”.

Following the technical consultation and roundtable discussion in June, the TWG has since finalized the NMP and its related components and efforts are underway to submit these documents to Cabinet for review and eventual adoption. The NMP will promote evidence-based decision-making on a range of issues and will provide a rallying point for key stakeholders to work in a coordinated manner, facilitating an integrated approach towards access to medicines and the sustainability of UHC.

Belynda Amankwa is Programme Specialist at the UNDP Country office in Ghana

Photo: The Hon. Alex Segbefia, Ghana’s Minister of Health, delivering the opening remarks at a high-level roundtable discussion, June 201

Photo credit: Belynda Amankwa

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