Africa: a regional workshop on strengthening national medicines supply systems was held in Harare, Zimbabwe in July to develop a framework for improving national essential medicines procurement and distribution systems in Africa. The 36 participants from 20 anglophone countries were drawn from national medicine supply agencies, departments of pharmacy within ministries of health, nongovernmental organizations and donor agencies.
South-East Asia: Following discussion at the Health Secretaries Meeting of April 2002, a resolution on bulk purchasing was passed at the SEARO Regional Committee in September 2002. SEARO's role is to bring together countries with similar situations and requirements - be these countries such as India, Indonesia and Thailand with sophisticated manufacturing capacity, or countries such as Bhutan, the Maldives and Timor Leste with no manufacturing capacity, or countries such as Nepal and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which do have manufacturing capacity, but which need to tackle quality problems. Additionally, SEARO will work with countries to develop common medicines specifications.
Western Pacific: In 2002, a workshop on pooled medicines procurement for smaller island states (SIS) was held in Nadi, Fiji. The workshop evaluated implementation of a procurement action plan developed at an earlier workshop, and identified means of improving collaboration between the SIS and Fiji. Also in 2002, Practical Guidelines on Pharmaceutical Procurement for Countries with Small Procurement Agencies were published by the Western Pacific Regional Office to demonstrate how small procurement agencies can minimize costs and ensure product quality.