The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, which is calling on countries and stakeholders to act appropriately to combat its spread. As countries around the world implement measures to curb the spread of the virus and treat those who contract it, access to medicines and health services is more critical than ever before. Supply chains and health systems must innovate to ensure that there are resources (medicines, staff and commodities) available to deal with the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 virus.
For health systems to continue to function optimally to provide essential medicines and services when needed, it is important to think holistically about the patients receiving these services and how the measures being implemented by national governments may impact their access to them. For example, most patients will be at risk when travelling to pick up their medications.
Multi-Month Dispensing (MMD) can help to limit patient trips to clinics or other pick-up-points for repeat scripts. MMD may be used by chronic but stable patients to collect medication for more than one month at a time. If implemented successfully, reducing the number of patient trips to a health facility or pick-up-point, will help with social distancing efforts. MMD also helps to ensure health facilities and services are freed up for patients who need emergency care.
In South Africa, Africa Resource Centre is working with the National Department of Health (NDoH) to understand how we can support the government’s efforts to continue to provide access and availability of medicines and health services at their point of need, for all.
To read more about ARC’s work with the NDoH, read the case study here.