In the past, the Government has implemented primary health care as the key strategy for improving the health of the population.
Today, much has been done in the health care system and among them is to increase the availability and accessibility of health care system.
Drugs play an important role in determining the quality and accessibility of health care. Few years ago, a central purchasing agency of CAMERWA was created to ensure that there is a regular supply of quality and low-price drugs in the country.
This company has contributed to the reduction in the retail price of drugs and the reduction of stock outs in health facilities. However, the problem of accessing essential drugs remains acute due to the low purchasing power of the population and weak pricing regulatory system.
One of the ways to improve the health care services is the availability of quality drugs and particularly essential drugs. In order to achieve these goals, there is need to purchase generic and essential drugs.
This will ensure that drugs and vaccines are available, accessible, and affordable so that they are sensibly used by the majority of the population. Non profit associations should be available to support the provision of drugs in the public.
An organisation such as LABOPHAR (Pharmaceutical laboratory of Rwanda) that manufactures essential drugs that are also low cost drugs is very important to the society.
LABOPHAR is a drug manufacturing firm based in Huye District that supplies its drug products to nearly all hospitals in the country with their closest clients being the University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB) and other health centres in the country as well.
In Rwanda, there are very few organisations that work like LABOPHAR. This is because drug manufacturing firms require enough expertise and raw materials that are very expensive to get.
LABOPHAR has been able to manufacture large quantities of serum in the region and supplies neighbouring countries with this medical product. A variety of antibiotic drugs and others to mention but a few are available at LABOPHAR.
Important to note is that most of the drugs manufactured within help in the treatment of tropical diseases and this is why drugs for diseases like malaria and other tropical diseases are sold cheaply almost in every country within the Great Lakes Region.
Drugs used for treatment of chronic diseases that affect the heart, brain, kidney and liver are very expensive to buy and are mostly imported from developed countries with good pharmaceutical firms.
The availability of pharmaceutical firms on the African continent is not enough due to the above mentioned short falls. This has also contributed to the high cost of drugs being sold in pharmacies and clinical centres around the country.
To set up advanced pharmaceutical firms, the country should have good promotion of science and technology in medical sciences as well as modern policy of scientific learning, research and discovery.
Lack of enough expertise in medical sciences is still a problem to many African countries especially developing countries and the need for advanced human resource development in this sector if the country is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in its medical working system is needed.
Medical sciences need facilitation in learning and practice, poor people and poor countries find it hard to afford quality learning in medical sciences and this has contributed to poor services being rendered to the society in most of the developing countries.
In Recent years, Cuba has contributed to the improvement of medical services in many developing countries by sending medical doctors to come and work in Africa.
They have high quality of speciality in various sectors of medicine and save the lives of patients in many clinical centres and hospitals in the region. Rwanda and Uganda have a good number of Cuban doctors in their health sectors that have helped a lot in diagnosis of dangerous health problems to our societies.
However, to achieve good drug supply and health services for the MDG’s, the government needs to implement a system of cost recovery at health centres according to which drugs are bought in district pharmacies and then sold to patients at the lowest possible price.
Finally, the Government will disseminate pharmaceutical information to encourage the rational and sensible use of drugs, implement a system of quality assurance and ensure that new drugs pass a preliminary registration procedure, and monitor the private pharmaceutical sector.
Most of the raw materials used by pharmaceutical industries are extracted from some wild plants that are found in most of African deserts and bushes. Due to lack of enough information on their usage and awareness of their importance, they are being wasted.