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WHO Releases New Manual to Guide Health Workers to Safely Administer Donated NTDs Medication

The manual, “Safety in administering medicines for neglected tropical diseases”, provides practical tools including training modules and job aids to further improve the planning, preparation and monitoring of safe administration of medicines mainly to treat the 5 NTDs amenable to preventive chemotherapy and diseases that require individual case management. The diseases include River blindness, leprosy, sleeping sickness, scabies, rabies, trachoma and snakebite envenoming.


A manual designed to help health workers to better administer and manage the safety of people who benefit from free medicines for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has been published today by the World health organization (WHO).

The manual, “Safety in administering medicines for neglected tropical diseases”, provides practical tools including training modules and job aids to further improve the planning, preparation and monitoring of safe administration of medicines mainly to treat the 5 NTDs amenable to preventive chemotherapy and diseases that require individual case management.

The diseases include; River blindness, leprosy, sleeping sickness, scabies, rabies, trachoma and snakebite envenoming.

“The manual does not make new recommendations, but aims to consolidate and emphasize the critical aspects of WHO’s existing guidance on the safe and efficacious administration of medicines to more than a billion people a year,” said Dr. Denise Mupfasoni, Technical Officer, WHO Department of Control of NTDs.

“It is intended to improve the work of programme managers, public health workers, community drug distributors, regional and country office staff, nongovernmental organizations, and other implementing partners and donors who support such activities," said WHO.

Medicines for NTDs, mainly donated by pharmaceutical companies, are manufactured under stringent regulatory authority guidelines or are prequalified by WHO. To ensure their safe administration, WHO has already published formal and informal guidance, including on the management of serious adverse events.

“Acceptance of, participation in, and success of NTD treatment campaigns rely on the trust of those ingesting the medicines” said Dr. David Addiss, Director, Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics, Task Force for Global Health who was part of the team that drafted the document. “Ensuring safety is critical, both for medicines given to individuals during mass treatment programmes and for those administered in clinical settings to patients who require individual management of diseases”

Such large scale campaigns against NTDs, the WHO says have treated more than 1 billion people annually over the past 5 years. As a huge number of people benefits from this, the WHO recommends a continuous cycle of assessing current practices in administering medicines and attending to individual and systemic safety gaps.  

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