Driving drug revolving scheme in Ekiti, Lagos

If quality drugs must be available, affordable and self-sustaining in public health facility, then community must take ownership of such scheme.

This was the submission of experts who reviewed development of the Sustainable Drug Revolving Fund (SDRF) scheme in Ekiti and Lagos States.

SDRF, an initiative of the United Kingdom’s Department For International Development /Partnership for Transforming Health Systems II (DFID/PATHS2) in Nigeria, is a system of ensuring uninterrupted supply and availability of essential medicines and consumables in health facilities,

Sharing the Ekiti SDRF experience, already a statewide success, the experts hinted that Lagos State still has a lot to learn on the role of community involvement and ownership, as the key driver of SDRF.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ advocacy meeting in Lagos, organised by the State Ministry of Health, with support from PATHS2, Ajoke Oluwasanmi, submitted that community interest in the scheme and it’s co-ownership with Health workers had made the initiative a success in Ekiti.

Oluwasanmi, who is a Logistics Consultant to Lagos PATHS2, noted that besides the scheme ensuring a consistent drug supply chain at rock bottom cost to a facility, it is actually for the “very poor and vulnerable group accessing health services in the facility.”

She said it was all about the community, who must participate and own the scheme for sustainability.

She recalled that the scheme was adequately planned by all the stakeholders in Ekiti, culminating in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the communities, workers union of the 16 local councils and State Government — all supporting the establishment and operation of statewide Unified Drug Revolving Fund (UDRF).

According to her, “The Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) was jointly developed, owned and used by all the stakeholders. SOP is very clear on how, who, when and where of the UDRF. Each level of care has a UDRF Committee with Community members as Chairman.

“The scheme is based on the principle of cost recovery that allows availability of qualitative drugs at all times at affordable prices without continuous funding by governments at all levels except to increase UDRF capitalization,” she said.

The speaker added that the communities were made to develop a strong voice, presenting burning issues to government and pressurized them to act. For example, their advocacy resulted in the construction of a new block to serve as doctors’ quarters at Iyin General Hospital and the purchase of an ambulance at Aramoko Hospital.

With the involvement of the communities, Ekiti, with 2.76 million population and 16 local councils, have fully enlisted a total of 303 public health facilities under the scheme. Lagos till date has only 47 on SDRF, out of 300 facilities.

Oluwasanmi said further that the experience in Ekiti should serve as an example for Lagos’ implementation of the SDRF, especially for the community health workers to sensitize communities on the need to rekindle interest and to take ownership of health facilities around them.

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