Access To Treatment for All
By admin July 21, 2016

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An estimated 2 billion people lack access to essential medicines, most of them living in Asia and Africa, according to the World Health Organization(WHO). While progress has been made in the past three decades, thanks in part to a renewed focus placed on diseases such as HIV and AIDS, malaria and polio, much remains to be done to ensure access to treatment for all.

The 90-90-90 goals of UNAIDS want 90 percent of people living with HIV to know their status, 90 percent of people who know their status to access antiretroviral treatment, and 90 percent of people on treatment to have suppressed viral loads.
As the 21st International AIDS Conference opens this week in Durban, South Africa, activists are calling for treatment for all.

Ensuring easy access to health facilities and medicines will be key. Without proper prevention and treatment, disease containment is impossible. Global health programs have made great strides against these epidemics, saving more than 17 million lives to date. We now have an opportunity to capitalize on this progress, and increased access to medicines will play a central role.

One of the major ways to increase access to medicines is through innovation of procurement and supply chain systems. By streamlining the systems through which medicines travel from manufacturers, through country health systems and to the patients themselves, we can reach those most at risk and save more lives.
Innovations are underway to improve global health systems, through both the improvement of on-the-ground logistics management and the development of high-tech procurement solutions. According to an article by Christopher Game on The Devex, at the Global Fund we are working closely with the private sector to bring corporate best practices to global health systems, streamlining processes to increase access to crucial medicines and supplies.
For instance, the national Department of Health (NDoH) and Vodacom have successfully deployed a custom-built mobile application (app) in 3126 clinics across South Africa, to monitor drug stock levels and reduce drug stock-outs. The Stock Visibility Solution (SVS), a mobile platform developed by Vodacom through its long-standing partnership with NDoH, is now used in all urban and rural South African clinics across eight provinces. These clinics now have the fully deployed and functional SVS.

Waleed Shawky is the founder of Medicine for All. Knowing how difficult it was for his low-income customers to pay for drugs they needed, the pharmacist had long wondered where unused medicine ends up. He says corporate waste of medicine in Egypt equals roughly 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($112 million, or 11.47 billion yen) per year. Subsequently, Shawky launched Medicine for All, an NGO that collects surplus medicine and matches it with needy patients. First, he partnered with pharmacy students to open charity pharmacies for college staff. Then he scaled up the program, reaching 60,000 Egyptians last year.

Every individual has a fundamental right to health, regardless of age, race, gender, income,or nationality. This important human right is intimately connected to our understanding of a life in dignity because it is in good health that individuals can reach their full potential. Cross-sector collaborations have yielded some of the most effective solutions to improve access to medicines, spurring innovation and improving health systems. New types of partnerships are yet to be devised. Gavi recently made headlines for having teamed up with delivery giant UPS and robotics company Zipline to pilot a project in Rwanda to deliver vaccines using drones. One thing’s for certain: in the future, new technology and innovative business models will play a core role in delivering much-needed medicine to the world’s poor.

To Find out more:

Innovating to the last mile: How access to medicines can end epidemics for good:

Drug War Fuels Global Lack of Access to Essential Medicines:

Mobile app to improve access & availability of essential medicines in SA:

Blood cancer patients need access to innovative medicines in the NHS:

Venezuela’s Patients Suffer as Medicine Barely Enough to Keep Hospitals Running:

IMPACT JOURNALISM DAY: A prescription for access to medicine:

Step by step: The road to ending the AIDS epidemic:

Bringing medicines to the world:

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