SMS Pill Check Survey Finds Medicine Stock-Outs Still Plague Africa
The Stop Stock-Outs campaign marked the week of June 22 as “pill check week” in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. During this week, research teams visited government health facilities in each country to check whether 10 essential medicines were in stock.
Using innovative technology, the teams reported the pill check results using short messaging services (SMS) to the campaign website, http://stopstockouts.org/. The data was reflected visually in an interactive map of the region.
General findings indicate that stock-outs still plague many districts in the region.
“The results of the survey are shocking, and fly in the face of assurances from health officials that essential medicines are readily available at public facilities,” said Emma Wanyonyi of the Consumer Information Network, which is leading the Stop Stock-Outs campaign in Kenya. “We know the government has started to address the situation, but clearly, more needs to be done. More than one million Kenyans are at risk of dying because so many essential medicines are out of stock.”
The country teams are using the data to advocate for better medicine procurement and supply.
The campaign receives support from the Access to Essential Medicines Initiative and the Health Media Initiative.
To view the SMS pill check results, go to: http://stopstockouts.org/.