A 15-member steering committee tasked with the responsibility to implement the National Medicine Policy (NMP), was yesterday inaugurated by the Minister of Health, Mr. Alexender Segbefia, in Accra.
The committee is chaired by Dr. Victor Asare Bampoe, Deputy Minister of Health, with the mandate to monitor the NMP which is a policy instrument of the ministry to govern the pharmaceutical sector to ensure sustainable access to medicines for the public.
Mr. Segbefia, said the third edition of the NMP had been prepared by the ministry through a dedicated technical working group, and with inputs from stakeholders across the health sector.
He said the revision of the second edition was informed by several issues including the need to strengthen pharmaceutical systems to meet the ever-changing health needs of the population and the need to toughen the supply chain systems as a key component of health systems.
The ministry, he said also took into consideration the need to sustain the gains made in ensuring financial access to medicines for the poor and vulnerable, especially for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Mr. Segbefia said the policy revision was done to develop and support the local pharmaceutical industry and to fortify the regulatory systems of the pharmaceutical and other health technologies in the country, thereby reaching sustainable strategies towards universal health coverage.
“The policy is also guided by the Health Sector Medium Term Strategy; the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for drug policy development and current trends and implementation of Trade-Related Aspects Of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and its Public Health Safeguards,” he said.
He called for transparency and accountability in the governance of the sector, efficient procurement mechanisms as well as sustainable financial access to medicines to protect the poor and vulnerable.
The minister said the elements examined and strengthened under the new policy included medicines selection, supply chain, responsible use of medicines, local manufacture, herbal medicines, quality assurance, policy co-ordination and implementation, financing and pricing.
He urged the committee to submit regular reports on its performance while showing sustaining implementation of the policy, as the ministry strived to achieve universal health coverage.
Dr. Bampoe, who spoke on behalf of the committee, thanked the ministry for their appointment and assured of members’ commitment to the implementation of the policy.
He said the committee had taken note of key elements of the policy that were dear to the heart of the government and would, therefore, go all out to ensure the realisation of such objectives.
By Charles Amankwa & Helen Selorm