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Medicines and Health - November 2010

WHO access and rational use surveys in Nigeria


The results of the surveys on access to and rational use of medicines at facility and household level in Nigeria have been published, providing information on prices, availability and use of medicines in public and private health facilities. For example, private pharmacies were found to have higher availability of medicines than public facilities (93% of key medicines against 67%). On the other hand, medicines in public facilities were more likely to be adequtely labelled than medicines in private pharmacies.

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Polio Eradication Initiative organizes mass immunization

In the last week of October, Africa seized an unprecedented chance to drive out polio when 15 countries across the continent launched a synchronized mass immunization campaign to reach 72 million children, capitalizing on gains made this year. A total of some 290 000 vaccinators had been mobilized to go door-to-door to deliver two drops of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to every child under five in areas considered at "highest risk" of polio transmission. Since the launch of the GPEI in 1988, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99%. In 1988, more than 350 000 children were paralyzed each year in more than 125 endemic countries. Only four countries remain endemic: Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in infants

The burden of severe forms of Plasmodium falciparum malaria is concentrated in young children, especially for malaria leading to death. Intermittent preventive treatment involves the administration of a therapeutic dose of an antimalarial drug at predefined times regardless of an individual’s infection status. The effect of administering intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi) at the time of routine vaccination delivered through the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has been evaluated in several randomized controlled trials. A secondary analysis of existing research data and a stochastic mathematical model showed that there is clearly still benefit in targeting infants using interventions that can reduce the number of  malaria associated deaths. IPTi may still form a highly cost-effective component of malaria control strategies in large swathes of Africa where access to curative services is poor at present and will remain so for years to come.The findings from the research into the applicability of IPTi under a range of epidemiological conditions have been developed as a decision-support tool.


Minilab to detect counterfeit medicines

For more than ten years, GPHF-Minilabs are providing affordable drug assays based on thin layer chromatography for easy counterfeit medicines detection. More than 350 units have been supplied to drug supply organisations, medicines regulatory authorities and other healthcare facilities across 70 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America already. First published in English, the supplement 2010 is now available in French and Spanish.

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