Zambia: A drug store in Mandevu township, about five kilometers from the center of Lusaka, which has a population of over 400,000 people.
We're fighting to ensure essential medicines are available for all.

Stop Stock-outs

What if you had to work for seven days just to cover the cost of a month supply of life-saving insulin, only to realize the clinic you traveled miles to reach has none in stock? This is the shocking reality in many African countries, where hospital and clinic shelves are bare instead of being stocked with affordable essential medicines.

Oxfam has teamed up with Health Action International to run the "Stop Stock-outs"   campaign to ensure every hospital and clinic in Africa has the medicines people need to stay healthy.

At the World Health Assembly in 1977, our governments made a commitment to ensure essential medicines were available in public health facilities. Yet today, over 30 years later, many public health facilities in Africa are missing these vital medicines.

  • In Malawi, still only around 10% of government and mission facilities provide the full necessary medication to treat malaria, HIV and other treatable illness associated with HIV.
  • In Kenya, eessential medicines are available in only 50% of dispensaries and health centres and in about 65% of hospitals in Kenya.

Access to essential medicines is a human right and a cornerstone of an effective primary health care system.  We must make this right a reality.

Go to to find out more about the Stop Stock-outs campaign.

Take action

Join our call for six million more well-trained and well-paid teachers, doctors and nurses for poor countries.


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As the fourth democratic elections in Malawi kick off today (19 May), Shenard Mazengera, our Advocacy Manager in Malawi blogs how this is a key opportunity to increase access to medicines in the country and help stop these ‘stock-outs.’

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Read how we’re fighting to ensure essential medicines are available for all with our Health & Education For All Campaign.