Launch of the Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List 7th Edition
Wednesday, 4th October, 2017
Standard Treatment Guidelines (STG) are systematically developed statements that assist prescribers in deciding on appropriate treatments for specific clinical problems. They usually reflect the consensus on the optimal treatment options within a health system and aim at beneficially influencing prescribing behaviour at all levels of care.
Over the years Ghana has implemented an essential medicines policy using the STG and Essential Medicines List (EML) as policy tools to guide prescribing, dispensing, procurements, and reimbursements across all levels of the health sector. Medicines are essential to the delivery of healthcare in any population. The responsible use of essential medicines is as crucial as the supply of adequate quantities of essential medicines of acceptable quality within our health system. The promotion of the responsible use of medicines in optimal treatments is a collective effort from all stakeholders including health professionals.
The development and management of evidence-based treatment guidelines have a key role to play in empowering our health professionals to use medicines responsibly. The medicines selection processes for specific treatments are very strategic especially as Ghana move towards Universal Health Coverage in Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals). Over the years the medicines selection process has been done through a National Expert Committee carefully selected across all disciplines with Terms of Reference and coordinated by the Ghana National Drug Programme of the Ministry of Health. The Experts have delivered the required outputs, which is, the 7th edition of the Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List (STGs and EML.).
The 7th edition review has benefited from innovative approaches and initiatives which include evidence synthesis, comparative cost-effectiveness analysis and application of global and national best practices and the lessons learnt over the years. The National Expert Committee working together with stakeholders has reviewed treatments and the list of medicines on the Essential Medicines List including medicines for children. The committee has also advised the Ministry of Health on the specific medicines recommended for reimbursements on the Health Insurance medicines list as per the evidence for efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness. The outcome of this activity would align the National Health Insurance Medicines List (NHIML) with the Essential Medicines List and ensure that the reimbursement list remains a subset of the EML. The committee would further assist the Ministry to optimize these instruments as a cost saving mechanism for our social health insurance. The optimization of these instruments should be an ongoing process as we look for new opportunities within the pharmaceutical and clinical space to optimize our expenditure on health.
Furthermore, guidelines are proposed to confine the circulation of essential medicines to specific and appropriate settings and levels of health care delivery. The Ministry of Health would like to reiterate the fact that the levels of care detailed and outlined within the STGs and EML must be complied with across all levels of the Health Care System through the reimbursement scheme provided by the National Health Insurance Authority.
The EML remains the tool to guide procurement and supply of medicines in the public and private sectors, schemes that reimburse medicine costs, medicine donations and also local medicine production. The role of the EML in guiding local production also implies that the quality assurance mechanisms in place for medicines listed must work more effectively. For medicines on the EML that are not locally manufactured, the availability of products duly registered by the FDA in Ghana as well as the continuous supply of quality-assured products especially for antibiotics, is all crucial.
The Ministry of Health wants to take this opportunity to caution the public of fake guidelines supposed to be emanating from the Ministry of Health. The document being launched today is the Ministry’s approved guidelines, which are also available from approved websites of the Ministry of Health and its agencies.
The STG and EML we are launching today remain policy tools, and Ministry of Health expects collaboration among the relevant stakeholders to ensure these documents are optimized as cost containment tools to drive the agenda to make our National Health Insurance Scheme sustainable.
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