Access to essential medicines remains a major challenge in most African countries. For the majority of Africans, essential medicines remain largely unavailable and inaccessible.
Factors affecting availability and affordability range from corruption to lack of proper planning that result in stock-outs of medicines for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, as well as common and manageable conditions such as diabetes and HIV.
A new booklet on the struggle for access to essential medicines in East and Southern Africa has been released by the Stop Stock-outs campaign partners with the support of Open Society Institute (OSI). It contains a selection of short stories from different parts of East and Southern Africa, describing the great difficulties ordinary people face in accessing essential medicines.
The booklet further brings out the glaring inequalities that exist between the rich and poor when it comes to accessing basic services. It reveals how most people in many African countries have been forced to forego treatment, accept compromised services or turn to quack cures, while others live in fear of premature death simply because their limited income affects their health choices.
It is hoped that experiences shared by people who have faced stock outs of essential medicines in this booklet will open eyes and minds of policy makers so that they can effect change that brings positive results, improve people’s lives and avoid preventable, premature deaths that result from treatable conditions.