The objective of EPN’s Advocacy programme is “to increase the priority given to access-to-medicines issues in faith-based health systems and national health systems.” FBO’s have long struggled for visibility and recognition as suitable partners among government and donors in providing health services. And although improvements are seen FBO’s still need to increase their visibility as professional and viable partners in health service provision and advocate for better integration in public health systems. EPN has a clear view of the existing engagement of FBOs in pharmaceutical services. Therefore EPN has the opportunity to serve as a voice for the faith based sector in Africa.
EPN seeks to develop a more systematic approach to raise the priority of access issues on national health agendas and raising the profile of the pharmaceutical services offered by FBOs. Regarding the latter, EPN lobbies within the network to put more emphasis on the health and cost saving benefits of rational use of medicines. EPN further supports the establishment and operation of Drug and Therapeutic Committees (DTCs) in the facilities. EPN facilitates engagement between members and governments, and members and pharmaceutical manufacturers on issues of access to and prices, rational use and quality of medicines to ensure that FBOs benefit from governmental and pharmaceutical initiatives. To raise the priority of access issues on health agendas EPN partners with stakeholders to influence national, regional and even global discussions on access policies. EPN seeks ways to promote and publicize the successes, innovations and contributions regarding pharmaceutical services of the members within and beyond the network.
Advocacy is an integrated aspect of the EPN programmes. During capacity building projects for example, EPN includes advocacy activities towards the hospital administrators to support the pharmaceutical services in their facilities. Research and information sharing provide the base and tools for advocacy initiatives.