Essential medicines and health products

EMP at World Health Assembly

Two resolutions related to access to health products were passed at the 69th World Health Assembly between 23-28 May. These resolutions aim to make quality health products more widely available and affordable and to reduce medicines and vaccines shortages in countries. In addition, the first ever list of Assistive Health Products was launched at a side event hosted by several governments.

Pioneering methadone programme gives hope to thousands in Dar es Salaam

WHO/A. Pritz
Nurse measuring methadone dose at Mwananyamala District Hospital

In a discreet corner of the Mwananyamala District Hospital grounds, in Dar es Salaam, a group of young people queue up outside a small window to get their daily fix of methadone. Others are taking refuge from the intense heat in the few shady spots available in the dusty yard behind the low building housing the methadone clinic. There are few women to be seen but that, as explained by Dr Pilly Sahid Mutoka, the Assistant Medical Officer at the clinic, is because women drug users suffer greater stigma than men and are less comfortable about declaring their drug problem.

Surveying insulin availability and pricing: vital to treating diabetes

Collecting data on the availability and price of medicines is a crucial step in improving access to diabetes medicines like insulin, which is vital for the survival of people with Type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes has been steadily increasing for the past three decades and is growing most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. The percentage of deaths attributable to high blood glucose or diabetes is almost 52% in low-income countries, compared with 23% in high-income countries.

WHO finalises list of assistive products

A consultation on 21-22 March saw consensus reached on the top 50 products to be included in WHO’s Priority Assistive Products List. Essential products such as wheelchairs, spectacles, hearing aids, artificial limbs, communication and memory aids are amongst the products listed. Today, only 1 in 10 people globally have access to these products.

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