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Epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in Eastern Europe. Report of a WHO meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark, 13-15 May 1996.
Copenhagen, Denmark, WHO, Regional Office for Europe, 1996. , 14 p. (EUR/ICP/CMDS 08 01 01)In response to the alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the newly independent states, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, WHO headquarters and the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS organized a meeting of experts from the most affected countries to exchange information and to identify priority actions for the control of the epidemic. The participants included 15 experts from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The participants called for urgent action, including a careful assessment of the existing systems for STD control, reallocation of resources among the various activity areas and strong advocacy to generate awareness at the top level of government and strengthen its support for the recommended initiatives. They also urged that national coordination of programmes to promote sexual health and prevent STDs and HIV be strengthened, that statutory services be made more accessible and acceptable to patients and that efforts be made to ensure that all health workers managing patients with STDs, including those in the private sector, provide high-quality care. (author's)
BMJ (CLINICAL RESEARCH ED.). 1996 Oct 26; 313(7064):1085.Jacqui Wise reports that artemether, the active ingredient of a traditional Chinese remedy for fever, has been found to be as effective as quinine in severe malaria. She states that most deaths from malaria occur in Africa and then quotes Dr. Peter Trigg, a scientist with the World Health Organization's malaria unit, as saying that the WHO appreciates the operational advantages of the new drug in the field but will not "recommend its introduction into Africa because of fears that ... resistance would spread." This decision by the WHO is unethical and unprofessional. The organization is condemning African patients with malaria to the possibility of death even while it is announcing that a new drug has shown better outcomes than occur with quinine. It is incredible that an organization that is part of the United Nations and that is charged with implementing health for all in the world by 2000 should decide to abandon patients to possible death from malaria on the basis of the lame excuse that resistant strains might develop if a new drug was introduced. Would this kind of trial be approved by an ethics committee? Rather than deprive African patients of the benefits of a new drug, the WHO should use its influence and resources to educate the governments and people in Africa about the dangers of misuse of drugs and the emergence of resistant strains of malaria. (full text)