WHO, UNICEF MEET TO ADDRESS LACK OF PEDIATRIC MEDICINES
A meeting of the Expert Consultation on Pediatric Essential Medicines in Geneva, jointly held by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF), resulted in a plan to boost access to essential medicines for children.
Representatives from more than 20 developed and developing countries, non-governmental organizations including Medecins Sans Frontieres, regulatory agencies, UNICEF and WHO staff created a prioritized approach to overall pediatric care.
Diseases that affect children include diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, malaria, respiratory tract infection and pneumonia. Effective interventions — classified on WHO's list of essential medicines — exist for these illnesses, but there's a lack of knowledge on how best to use these drugs in children, and a lack of pediatric formulations.
top priority is to dramatically expand access to child-focused formulations such
as fixed-dose combinations (several pills in one), crucial for children's correct
use of medicines and treatment adherence. The plan also calls for improving medicines
and prescribing guidelines addressing the entire range of infant and child care
needs. Priorities include respiratory infections, neonatal care, palliative care
for end-stage AIDS, for HIV/TB co-infection and for other opportunistic infections,
and improved electronic access to the latest WHO drug information.