The manual is designed for use primarily by senior management personnel responsible for NDP implementation. These managers need to obtain information regularly to improve the policy and to guide the allocation of resources. They need to verify whether activities within the main policy areas are carried out as planned, and to detect problems (process monitoring through structural and process indicators). They also need to document whether the progress under the various policy areas is leading to expected results in terms of availability, affordability, quality and use of drugs (outcome monitoring through outcome indicators). This is in order to design new strategies/policy measures to improve the performance of the NDP’s main components. These managers can use the manual to establish or improve a drug monitoring system, or to integrate drug monitoring into existing health information systems.
National policy-makers in the ministry of health (and in other ministries) concerned with the overall improvement of health conditions may also find this manual useful in helping them to monitor progress in drug policy. They may select certain indicators for regular reports on the pharmaceutical situation. For example, they may decide to request an annual report on the outcome indicators in order to assess the overall progress of drug policy implementation and policy strategies. National policy-makers concerned with the evaluation of "health sector reforms" may find some indicators described in the manual useful for assessing the effects of the reforms. For instance, indicators on use of drugs (OT7 to OT10) are important indicators of technical efficiency, which is often a main objective of health sector reform. Finally, policy-makers may also find the manual useful in preparing reports on the performance of the pharmaceutical sector, for use with external donors or for presentation to other government agencies (such as the ministry of finance).
Managers at intermediate and lower levels will probably find the indicators useful but may need more (or more detailed) information in relation to their field of intervention. More detailed information can of course be collected for any of the issues covered by the indicators, but when monitoring an NDP with a wide range of strategies/components, it is important to focus on the main trends. Although collecting more information may be important for micromanagement, it can lead to confusion when monitoring a policy as a whole.
International agencies' experts will find the manual useful when developing new projects in the pharmaceutical field and when assessing current projects. It can be a useful tool when organizing the situation analysis for a project, before developing strategies and activities. The background information and structural indicators will provide basic data on the health/pharmaceutical sector and an assessment of the country's capacity to implement the various aspects of a national drug policy. This standardized information can also help reduce duplication of efforts when multiple agencies are working in one country.