The Southern Africa Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM) is a programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, with the aim to assist member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to improve access to medicines.


SARPAM will work to improve efficiency and competition in the market for essential medicines in the Southern African Region and thereby meet the health needs of the poor.

SARPAM was designed in consultation with the SADC Secretariat and other stakeholders, to respond to identified gaps in the pharmaceutical markets of Southern Africa, including practices which result in uncompetitive, inconsistent medicine pricing and the poor supply chain management of medicines. The programme engages both public and private sector stakeholders to ensure improved access to medicines across the region.

SARPAM uses collaborative and innovative tactics to help countries tackle regulatory and policy barriers to communities accessing medicines and seeks to enable member states of SADC partner together in finding solutions to existing challenges. Our active role in the region ranges from providing technical and policy advisory and support, research, reporting, monitoring and evaluation on medicines to facilitating dialogue among key stakeholders.

SARPAM featured by Tim Berners Lee – Inventor of the World Wide Web

In an article discussing the need and value of raw data featured in Wired magazine, he had this to say about SARPAM:

Take the example of the UK aid funded Southern Africa Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM). This is an organisation that painstakingly worked with insiders in health ministries and local health professionals to collect and publish public data on the price and availability of medicines. They revealed that some governments were being charged enormously higher rates — up to 25 times more — for the same medicines. The findings enabled governments to put pressure on pharmaceutical companies to reduce the prices.

Imagine how quickly impacts such as these would multiply if governments were to openly publish this data, not just about the cost of medicine, but also about student attendance rates or crop productivity compared to use of pesticides. Scientific data could help researchers to find new drugs, given genomics and the biology of individuals, and the massive amount of data needed to understand and combat climate change would be available to all who work on it.

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