Global Medicines Program

January 13, 2015

Strengthening Health Systems and Capacity Building in Namibia

In September and October 2014, Global Medicines Program faculty and UW students – Andy Stergachis and Marita Mann, PhD student and Adrian Hughes, PharmD student – were in Namibia supporting their country’s medication safety initiatives, including their sentinel site-based active surveillance pharmacovigilance activity and participation in a training in northern Namibia. Active surveillance pharmacovigilance systems better estimate the burden of adverse events and can generate information to allow for more efficient use of medicines.

Namibia training 2014 006The objective of this activity – supported by the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program – was to implement an active surveillance pilot program for first-line antiretroviral therapy medicines in two sentinel sites in Namibia. The University of Washington has collaborated with SIAPS in providing technical assistance to the Therapeutics Information and Pharmacovigilance Centre (TIPC) of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) to design, implement, and evaluate this activity.

The purpose of this trip was to provide technical assistance to the MoHSS in improving pharmacovigilance practices in Namibia, including increasing the level of health worker monitoring and reporting of adverse HIV and TB medication effects through both active and passive surveillance systems. While in Namibia, the team completed data collection and began to analyze the active surveillance data on safety of first-line ARVs from the two sentinel sites. Also, during this trip a well-received training of trainers was provided on medicine safety surveillance in an effort to raise awareness on issues of drug safety and create a reporting culture among Namibian health professionals. The training aimed at equipping them with the skills and knowledge to facilitate their reporting of suspected ADRs.