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WHO CHRONICLE. 1980; 34(1):20-3.In order to fulfill the goal of "health for all by the year 2000," the countries of Southeast Asia must be encouraged to establish comprehensive drug policies. This would remedy the present situation where access to life-saving drugs and essential drugs is limited and national health resources are wasted on less important medicines. The comprehensive drug policy could streamline every aspect of the pharmaceutical and supply system, ensuring high quality, safety and efficacy of the drugs. Each country's ministry of health should coordinate the program with aid from the WHO Regional Committee. Technical cooperation among the countries of the region is essential and establishment of eventual self-sufficiency with respect to essential drugs is encouraged. Traditional medicine and traditional medical practitioners should be integrated into the existing institutional system. Training of traditional practitioners in the preventive and promotive aspects of primary health care would improve the existing system. Since there is a lack of pharmacists in the region, the training of additional pharmacists should be a priority item in any new comprehensive drug program.
WHO Chronicle 33(6):203-208. June 1979.The Action Programme on Essential Drugs is an internationally-sponsored program of technical cooperation which was started by the World Health Orgnaization (WHO). The Program aims to: 1) strengthen national capabilities of developing countries in selecting, supplying, distributing, and using essential drugs; 2) strengthen local quality control and production, where possible, of such drugs; and 3) provide essential drugs and vaccines to developing countries. Drugs considered essential will differ from 1 country to another depending on available medical personnel and prevalent diseases. In the next several years, development of primary health services will go concurrently with development of pharmaceutical supply systems adapted to the specific needs of the country's population. Technical cooperation should be facilitated through international assistance. Current activities of the Program in each of the WHO regions are summarized.