Review of National Medicines Policy, Review of the Namibia National Pocket Manual for Health Workers, and Determination of Desirability for National Standard Treatment Guidelines for Namibia
(2006; 71 pages)

This assignment was undertaken at the request of the Management Sciences for Health (MSH)/Rational Pharmaceutical Management (RPM) Plus Program to review the National Medicines Policy (NMP) of Namibia and related laws and regulations with the view of proposing changes (if any) that would be entered into the revision of Namibia’s National Pharmaceutical Master Plan (NPMP). The NMP and the accompanying NPMP were introduced in 1998 and 2000, respectively. In addition, MSH/RPM Plus was to provide guidance on the review of the Namibia Pocket Treatment Manual for Health Workers and examine the possibility of developing comprehensive standard treatment guidelines (STGs) for Namibia’s health sector.

1. Review of Pocket Treatment Manual for Health Workers (Pocket Manual): The Namibia Pocket Treatment Manual for Health Workers was first published in 1996 and was derived from the more extensive Treatment Manual for Clinics, which was developed and distributed in 1992. Its objective was to standardize treatment practices in the country, particularly at the primary health care level. The manual has not been revised since its introduction in 1996.

The Pocket Manual has been found to be an especially useful tool in clinical practice for nurses. However, there are various sections that require review as well as incorporation of recent treatment guidelines for malaria, antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, tuberculosis, Integrated Management of Childhood Illness, and new relevant topics.

In principle, review of the Pocket Manual should follow that of the Treatment Manual for Clinics, as was done originally. This approach is confounded by the proposal to develop comprehensive STGs, which may delay the revision of the Pocket Manual.

2. Desirability for Comprehensive Standard Treatment Guidelines: There is general recognition of the need to develop comprehensive STGs for use in both public and private health sectors of Namibia. Advantages that support the observation of the desirability for comprehensive STGs include promotion of rational use of medicines, cost containment, improved quality of care, and a training and orientation tool for foreign medical practitioners. Suggestions were made as to the format, content, and the process of development. An important observation was that the STGs should target both public and private sectors and therefore collaboration between these two sectors is important.

3. Review of the National Medicines Policy: The current laws in Namibia regarding control of pharmaceuticals, professional health practice, and the draft bill on traditional healers are comprehensive. Review of the major elements of the NMP and the laws related to the pharmaceutical sector raised some issues.

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