Baseline data collection for the MeTA process
Posted on 17 November 2009
By Samia Said, MeTA Consultant
All seven countries involved in the pilot phase of the Medicines Transparency Alliance have now started implementing their workplans, many of which include a review of their pharmaceutical sector, in order to help the MeTA country multi-stakeholder groups set future priorities.
As part of the overall package of support for the MeTA pilot countries, the International MeTA Secretariat has been tasked to encourage and support countries to undertake a baseline situation analysis after the launch of their workplan activities.
This baseline assessment will enable country-specific indicators to be identified at the national level, by the MeTA multi-stakeholder groups, which can be used to track progress and demonstrate the levels of engagement of different stakeholders to the MeTA process. However, just as importantly, they will provide the foundation for longer term evaluation of outcomes and impact beyond any pilot phase.
The assessment undertaken in each country will vary depending on the local situation. There are three key components to the assessment, however not all the components will be applied in all of the countries. Decisions about what components will take place are currently being agreed with individual countries.
- Component One: An inventory of existing pharmaceutical sector data that is then made publicly available.
- Component Two: An indication of the degree of community access to essential medicines, through healthcare facility and household surveys.
- Component Three: An indication of the quality of the multi-stakeholder process, which includes a 360-degree assessment of the existing levels of engagement.
To assist MeTA countries in this process, the International MeTA Secretariat and World Health Organization (WHO) have worked with the WHO Collaborating Centre in Pharmaceutical Policy at Harvard University and the Institute for Development Studies to develop and provide a set of tools, technical assistance and additional resources to country groups to assist them in assembling existing pharmaceutical sector data, cataloguing key areas of data disclosure, synthesising information for priority setting and producing concise summary country reports.
As part of baseline Component One, a data disclosure survey tool was shared with all MeTA pilot countries at the end of July 2009 to assist the countries in realising their commitment as part of the MeTA core principles to disclose, analyse and use over time data in four core areas:
1. Medicines registration and quality assurance;
2. Availability of medicines;
3. Price of medicines, and
4. Policies and practices concerning the promotion of medicines.
A summary of the disclosure status of these types of data is an important part of the early work in MeTA pilot countries. Surveys are currently underway in all seven MeTA pilot countries and it is anticipated that these surveys will be concluded and findings discussed by the multi-stakeholder groups by the end of this year.
Discussing disclosure is a key part of multi-stakeholder work in MeTA and the lessons learned from the process will be as important as the findings and actual data.
Other baseline assessment activities in progress include household and healthcare facility surveys that have recently been completed in Ghana and the Philippines and are underway in Jordan. Further tools to assist countries in conducting their baseline assessments and pharmaceutical sector reviews will be shared with MeTA countries in the coming months.