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.
WHO Member States underscore need for public health approach to world drug problem
International regulation of controlled substances has made it difficult in many countries to access essential medicines for a broad range of medical uses such as pain management, mental health treatment and substitution therapy for drug dependence. For example, patients in about 120 countries do not have sufficient access to essential pain relief medicines like codeine and morphine. Methadone, proven to help reduce dependency on heroin, is available to fewer than 10% of those in need of treatment.
Estonia has created a cost-effective guidelines development tool to inform health care policy and practice. WHO hopes the tool will serve as a model for other countries aiming to improve the quality of their health services. Developing standard treatment clinical practice guidelines for medicines, for example, promotes therapeutically effective and economically efficient good quality prescribing, by listing the preferred pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments for common health problems.
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News and events
29 March 2016
WHO’s Director General announced that the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
23 - 24 March 2016
Member State Mechanism Steering Committee
29 March–April 1
To develop a WHO tool for surveillance of antimicrobial consumption and use, and a proposal for integrating surveillance of antimicrobial consumption and use in national action plans.
12 - 15 April 2016
Mandatory deadline for EoI, LoP and presentations on 7th March 2016