Pharmaceutical availability across levels of care: evidence from facility surveys in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda

Published December 11, 2014, in PLOS ONE (opens in a new window)


In this study we use facility-level data from nationally representative surveys conducted in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda to understand pharmaceutical availability within the three countries.


In 2012, we conducted a survey to capture information on pharmaceuticals and other facility indicators from over 200 facilities in each country. We analyze data on the availability of pharmaceuticals and quantify its association with various facility-level indicators. We analyze both availability of essential medicines, as defined by the various essential medicine lists (EMLs) of each respective country, and availability of all surveyed pharmaceuticals deemed important for treatment of various high-burden diseases, including those on the EMLs.


We find that there is heterogeneity with respect to availability across the three countries with Ghana generally having better availability than Uganda and Kenya. To analyze the relationship between facility-level factors and pharmaceutical stock-out we use a binomial regression model. We find that the factors associated with stock-out vary by country, but across all countries both presence of a laboratory at the facility and presence of a vehicle at the facility are significantly associated with reduced stock-out.


The results of this study highlight the poor availability of essential medicines across these three countries and suggest more needs to be done to strengthen the supply system so that stock remains uninterrupted.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Disease Control Priorities Network (Investment # OPP51229)

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Masters SH, Burstein R, DeCenso B, Moore K, Haakenstad A, Ikilezi G, Achan J, Osei I, Gashong B, Kisia C, Njuguna P, Babigumira J, Kumar S, Hanlon M, Gakidou E. Pharmaceutical availability across levels of care: evidence from facility surveys in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. PLOS ONE. 2014; 9(12): e114762.