Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Gap in Medicine Availability and Affordability Studies in Africa

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The World Medicines Situation Report of 2011 highlighted significant issues in medicine availability and affordability across WHO regions, including Africa. Since then, this issue has gained more prominence on the international stage, culminating in its inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals as Target 3.8. Despite multiple studies conducted in Africa on medicine affordability and availability after the release of the 2011 report, no systematic analysis has been carried out on the methodologies used, measures of medicine availability and affordability, categories of medicines studied, or their geographical distribution.

To fill this knowledge gap, a systematic scoping review of studies assessing medicine availability or affordability conducted in the WHO Africa region from 2009-2021 was performed. The review involved 241 articles, with 88% being descriptive studies and 12% interventional studies. The most common metric for medicine availability was whether medicine was in stock on the date of a survey, employed by 63% of the 198 studies investigating medicine availability. Other methods included retrospective stock record reviews and self-reported medicine availability surveys.

Medicine Availability

Assessing Medicine Availability, Affordability and Access in the WHO Africa Region

Among the 59 articles that included affordability measures, 54% compared the price of the medicine to the daily wage of the lowest-paid government worker. Other affordability measures included patient self-reported affordability, capacity to pay measures, and comparing medicine prices with a population-level income standard such as minimum wage, poverty line, or per capita income. Antiparasitic and anti-bacterial medicines were the most commonly studied.

Notably, no studies were identified in 46% of the countries in the WHO Africa Region, with more than half of the studies conducted in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. This lack of data points to a need for greater geographic diversity in studies and a focus on medicines for certain non-communicable diseases. The review also highlights the need for more intervention studies to identify approaches to improve access to medicines in the region.


Orijinal Article DOI: 10.1186/s12913-023-10494-8

Original title: A systematic scoping review of medicine availability and affordability in Africa

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