Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

United Nations News Centre – Over 5 billion people worldwide lacking access to essential medicines, says UN report

United Nations News Centre – Over 5 billion people worldwide lacking access to essential medicines, says UN report.

From the 3 March 2015 report

A patient in a hospital in Cambodia is given some pain killers. Photo: World Bank/Masaru Goto

3 March 2015 – Three quarters of the world population has no access to proper pain relief treatment, according to a report by the United Nations body charged with overseeing Governments’ compliance with international drug control treaties, which was released in London today.

Around 5.5 billion people still have limited or no access to medicines containing narcotic drugs such as codeine or morphine the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) says in its Annual Report for 2014, which went on to point out that around 92 per cent of all morphine used worldwide is consumed by only 17 per cent of the world population, primarily living in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The report, which calls on Governments to address the discrepancy in order to comply with International Drug Control Conventions, notes that natural disasters and armed conflicts around the world can further limit access to essential medicines and the Board stressed that in cases of emergency medical care, simplified control measures can be applied.

For example in the Philippines following the destruction by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the Board pointed out to all countries as well as to providers of humanitarian assistance the simplified procedures for the export, transportation and delivery of medicines containing substances under international control.

In its Report, the INCB notes that drug control measures do not exist in a vacuum and that, in their implementation of the drug control conventions, States must also comply with obligations under other treaties, including international humanitarian law and their international human rights obligations, such as allowing civilians to have access to medical care and essential medicines during armed conflicts.

Additionally, the INCB noted that States were charged with deciding specific sanctions for drug-related offences, but should avoid application of the death penalty for such cases.

To achieve a balanced and integrated approach to the drug problem, Governments also should ensure that demand reduction is one of the first priorities of their drug control policies, while they should put greater emphasis on and provide support and appropriate resources to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, the Report says.

Among the rest of the Report’s findings were an increase in the number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) by 11 per cent and a 66 per cent increase in global consumption of methylphenidate, a stimulant primarily used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The Report also pointed out that the legalization of production, distribution, sale and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives for recreational purposes in Uruguay, together with the moves by States in the United States to legalise sale and distribution of cannabis for non-medical purposes, ran counter to article 4 of the 1961 Single Convention on narcotic drugs, which requires States to limit the use of narcotic drugs to medical and scientific purposes.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | health care, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] The Global Health Impact Index

From the 30 January 2015 post  by Nicole Hassoun and Priya Bhimani at Impact Ethics

For much of 2014, the Ebola outbreak in Sub-Saharan Africa dominated headlines as the virus spread and eventually made its way to the United States and Europe. Unfortunately, while the world focused on graphic images of people dying from Ebola on the street, little attention was paid to other infectious diseases that continue to plague much of the developing world.

As media coverage of the Ebola outbreak slowly started to decline, however, news of a new strain of drug-resistant malaria started to catch the public’s attention. Drug-resistance is a silent but serious threat to public health. And, if drug-resistant malaria were to spread from its current location in Myanmar to the nearby nations of India and China, it could easily become the world’s next big global health emergency.

More generally, every year millions of people die from malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDs – aptly named neglected diseases. This fact invites the following questions: What efforts to combat these neglected diseases are working? Where is help still needed? And, what initiatives are actually making a difference?

A new Global Health Impact index, supported by a collaboration of university-based researchers and civil society organizations around the world, helps provide answers to these questions. The index evaluates the global health impact of particular drugs. This information can be used to increase awareness about particular diseases, and create national and international demand for drugs to treat these diseases.

Screenshot 2015-01-30 10.57.00

A drug’s global health impact is determined by compiling information about: (1) the need for the drug; (2) access to the drug; and (3) effectiveness of the drug. In this way, the Global Health Impact index makes it possible to estimate the impact of each drug in each country, as well as the global impact of particular drugs on specific diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Health Statistics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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