In August 1988, as part of the assistance to the MEDP, WHO’s Action Programme on Essential Drugs (DAP) organized an international seminar in Malawi on drug quantification. The seminar was based on quantification methodologies developed by DAP1. This was immediately followed by a drug quantification exercise for Malawi carried out by nationals and international consultants. The preparation for this quantification involved, inter alia, carrying out a detailed review of prescribing practices, review by the National Drugs Committee (NDC) of standard treatment schedules adopted by other countries and modification of these during the workshop to suit Malawi requirements.
1 Estimating Drug Requirements. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1988 (WHO/DAP/88.2).
A quantification spreadsheet (QUANTED) which included abbreviated treatment schedules had been prepared for DAP and was adapted for use in Malawi during the quantification seminar. The treatment schedules in this were amended for local applicability according to the information in a local MOH publication2.
2 Common Medical Problems in Malawi: a Guide to Management, Dr P A Reeve (Editor: Dr J J Wirima), Ministry of Health, Malawi (undated).
Although information on morbidity patterns in Malawi was partly available, through monthly reports or tick sheets submitted by health units, this was incomplete and often inaccurate. Coupled with the unavailability of standard treatment protocols, this meant that morbidity-based quantification could not be done with any reliability or accuracy.