Drug Supply by Ration Kits: Report of an Evaluation. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 011 (1991)
(1991; 3 pages)

In 1988-1989, the WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs (DAP) evaluated the use of ration kits as a means of improving drug supply to rural areas of developing countries. The goal of the ration kit system is to precisely supply the drugs that are needed in appropriate quantities. A secondary goal is to improve rational prescription and use. The WHO report includes an assessment of advantages and disadvantages of the kits. Advantages include increasing the availability of drugs in rural areas, creating an environment for more rational prescribing practices, and potentially improving the quality of primary health care in a region. Despite these advantages, the difficulty of estimating drug requirements for a population, the inflexibility of the system, limited financial resources to fund the drug supply, and limited health personnel training on rational use pose problems for the effectiveness and viability of the ration kit system. The WHO report also includes a list of conditions under which the system can and cannot be effectively moderated. For example, DAP believes a national essential drugs list must be compiled before initiating the ration kit system so that the national list can be used in the selection process for the kits. The report also asserts that based on limited practical experience with ration kits, such a system appears to work well for hospitals. The report concludes by stating that a balance between the advantages and disadvantages must be struck in order for such a system to work and that the majority of individuals questioned for the evaluation believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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