The first African MedIC Course in Pharmaceutical Policy Analysis for Health
and Insurance Systems brought together 25 participants from governments, health
insurance schemes, and international organizations from of six African countries
in Accra, Ghana, from 16 to 25 November, 2008. The course was part of the major international Medicines and
Insurance Coverage (MedIC) Initiative (http://www.whoccpp.org/research/medic.asp), which
aims to give policy makers in developing and transitional countries the tools to
design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based medicines coverage policies. MedIC is led by the
World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Pharmaceutical Policy in
Boston (WHO CCPP, www.whoccpp.org), a leader in the global effort to improve access to and use of
medicines through effective medicines policies in governments and health
insurance systems. During the highly interactive 9-day course, participants from Ghana, Kenya,
Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania worked in small cross-country groups
to answer questions such as: Why extend coverage for medicines in health
insurance programs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of specific
medicines policies? What is the best way to design, implement, and manage a
formulary? How can routine medicines data be used to develop evidence-based
policies? How can insurance programs evaluate changes in medicines coverage?
What are the best measures for routine monitoring of medicines policy effects?
As country teams, participants developed innovative policy interventions to
improve medicines use and health outcomes in their systems, immediately applying the materials
discussed during the course to their settings.
The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, with funding from
the U.K. Department for International Development and the European Community; the World
Health Organization Country Office in Accra; the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical
Research at the University of Ghana; the Ghana National Health Insurance
Authority and the Republic of Ghana Ministry of Health; the Medicines
Transparency Alliance (MeTA); the Police’s Medical Aid Scheme of South Africa
(POLMED); Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) and Management Sciences for
Health (MSH); and the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (DACP) at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care supported the Ghana MedIC Course.
As part of the MedIC Initiative, the WHO CCPP intends to work with country
groups on implementing the policy evaluation projects developed during the Ghana MedIC
Course. Following the successful course in Ghana, the WHO CCPP is planning a MedIC
course for Southern African countries and a French-language course for francophone
countries, in addition to courses in Latin America and Asia, pursuing its goal to work with
health insurance programs across the world to improve the health of the poor, through
sound medicines coverage policies.