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The Global Drug Facility: a unique, holistic and pioneering approach to drug procurement and management.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007 May; 85(5):325-420.In January 2006, the Stop TB Partnership launched the Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015, which describes the actions and resources needed to reduce tuberculosis (TB) incidence, prevalence and deaths. A fundamental aim of the Global Plan is to expand equitable access to affordable high-quality anti-tuberculous drugs and diagnostics. A principal tool developed by the Stop TB Partnership to achieve this is the Global Drug Facility (GDF). This paper demonstrates the GDF's unique, holistic and pioneering approach to drug procurement and management by analysing its key achievements. One of these has been to provide 9 million patient-treatments to 78 countries in its first 6 years of operation. The GDF recognized that the incentives provided by free or affordable anti-tuberculosis drugs are not sufficient to induce governments to improve their programmes' standards and coverage, nor does the provision of free or affordable drugs guarantee that there is broad access to, and use of, drug treatment in cases where procurement systems are weak, regulatory hurdles exist or there are unreliable distribution and storage systems. Thus, the paper also illustrates how the GDF has contributed towards making sustained improvements in the capacity of countries worldwide to properly manage their anti-TB drugs. This paper also assesses some of the limitations, shortcomings and risks associated with the model. The paper concludes by examining the GDF's key plans and strategies for the future, and the challenges associated with implementation. (author's)
Drug Safety. 2005; 28(4):277-286.Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) have been recommended for the treatment of malaria in countries where there is widespread resistance to commonly used antimalarial drugs. Several sub-Saharan African countries are, therefore, in the process of introducing ACTs in their malaria drug policies. However, there is limited information about the safety of ACTs outside South East Asia, where their use has been well documented. As with all other new medicinal compounds, the monitoring of a drug's safety or ’pharmacovigilance’ is important, especially in areas where co-morbid conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and tuberculosis, are common. Because in most malaria endemic countries, particularly Africa, there are no pharmacovigilance programmes in place, it has been suggested that the introduction of ACTs offers an opportunity for these countries to put drug safety monitoring systems in place. Backed by the WHO Roll Back Malaria department and other international cooperating partners, five African countries, which are in the process of introducing ACTs (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Zanzibar), have drawn up action plans to introduce pharmacovigilance in their health sector. It is planned that once the safety monitoring of antimalarials has been established, these activities can then be extended to cover medicinal compounds used in other public health programmes, such as HIV/ALDS, tuberculosis and the immunisation programmes. This article looks at the rationale for pharmacovigilance, the process of setting up monitoring centres and the challenges of implementing the project in the region. (author's)
Challenges for communicable disease surveillance and control in southern Iraq, April-June 2003. Letter from Basrah.
JAMA. 2003 Aug 6; 290(5):654-658.The recent war in Iraq presents significant challenges for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases. In early April 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a team of public health experts to Kuwait and a base was established in the southern Iraqi governorate of Basrah on May 3. We present the lessons learned from the communicable disease surveillance and control program implemented in the Basrah governorate in Iraq (population of 1.9 million) in April and May 2003, and we report communicable disease surveillance data through June 2003. Following the war, communicable disease control programs were disrupted, access to safe water was reduced, and public health facilities were looted. Rapid health assessments were carried out in health centers and hospitals to identify priorities for action. A Health Sector Coordination Group was organized with local and international health partners, and an early warning surveillance system for communicable disease was set up. In the first week of May 2003, physicians in hospitals in Basrah suspected cholera cases and WHO formed a cholera control committee. As of June 29, 2003, Iraqi hospital laboratories have con firmed 94 cases of cholera from 7 of the 8 districts of the Basrah governorate. To prevent the transmission of major communicable diseases, restoring basic public health and water/sanitation services is currently a top priority in Iraq. Lack of security continues to be a barrier for effective public health surveillance and response in Iraq. (author's)
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1991. vii, 72 p.Members of WHO's Technical Working Group on Essential Obstetric Functions at First Referral Level have prepared a book geared towards district, provincial, regional, national, and international decision makers, particularly those in developing countries, whose areas of expertise include planning, financing, and organization and management of obstetric services. The guidelines should allow them to improve referral services' standards at the district level. They should also help them decide how far and by what means they may possibly expand some of these services to more peripheral levels, e.g., renovating facilities and improving staff. When developing these guidelines, WHO took in consideration that many countries confront serious economic obstacles. The book's introduction briefly discusses maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries and maternity care in district health systems. The second chapter, which makes up the bulk of the book, addresses primary components of obstetric care related to causes of maternal death. This chapter's section on surgical obstetrics examines cesarean section and repair of high vaginal and cervical tears among others. Its other sections include anesthesia, medical treatment, blood replacement, manual procedures and monitoring labor, family planning support, management of women at high risk, and neonatal special care. The third section provides guidelines for implementation of these services, including cost and financial considerations. It emphasizes the need at the first referral level to have the least trained personnel perform as many health care procedures as possible, as long as they can do so safely and effectively. Other implementation issues are facilities, equipment, supplies, drugs, supervision, evaluation, and research. Annexes list the required surgical and delivery equipment, materials for side ward laboratory tests and blood transfusions, essential drugs, and maternity center facilities and equipment.
TROPICAL DOCTOR. 1988 Oct; 18(4):155-8.Based on suggestions made by Simmonds and Walker in 1982, The World Health Organization developed a standard Emergency Health Kit intended for use in refugee camps during the first 3 months of an emergency, by populations of 10,000. The complete kit had a weight of 858 kg and a volume of 2.6 cubic meters. Among its contents was a list of the drugs and equipment it contained. The list was divided into drugs that could be used by health workers with minimal training; drugs to be prescribed only by doctors and senior health workers; and simple laboratory and clinic equipment. The kit was used in many relief settings, some of which were quite different from those it was intended for. In 1986 WHO commissioned a survey of representatives of relief organizations, on their experiences with the kit. 153 questionnaires were sent to 128 organizations. Based on the 55 responses from 50 organizations (36% return), the advantages of the kit were its ease of transport, time savings, the use of drugs familiar to most volunteers, guaranteed quality, and usability in establishing a national basic health unit. Disadvantages included unfamiliarity of some national staff with drug names and doses, ethical dilemmas where refugees might receive better health care than native populations, long receipt times, high costs of transport, use and storage (sometimes = to cost of kit, c. US$4800), incompatibility with some national emergency drug lists, a size too large for small countries or scattered populations, and non-adaptability to varying local situations. Recommendations of kit revision cover decreasing kit size, provision for cold storage, purchase of most liquids locally and elimination of glass containers, more detailed labelling, and better customs and shipment procedures. The list of drugs proved to be the most valuable item for those surveyed. A WHO committee is currently implementing these suggestions and a draft document of a revised kit has been prepared.