Are WHO priority medicines for mothers and children included in Essential Medicines Lists of Pacific Island Countries?

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Abstract

Objective

The objective of the study was to determine if the World Health Organization's (WHO) 31 Priority Medicines for Mothers and Children are included in the Essential Medicines Lists (EML) of Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

Methods

EMLs from all PICs were sought. These were reviewed to determine if the priority medicines were listed in clinically appropriate doses for the age and indication in the WHO priority list.

Key findings

EMLs were sourced from 11 countries, representing 89% of the total PIC population. All countries had most of the priority items listed in its EML, but no country included the whole list; the overall inclusion of items listed on national EMLs ranged from 22/31 (71%) to 30/31 (97%). The average inclusion of items was 80.4%. 16 priority medicines were included in every country's EML.

Conclusion

The results suggest that treatment guidelines for Child and Maternal Health are not up-to-date in all countries or that vertical programme supply systems may not be fully incorporated into existing country mechanisms. Further support should be given to national drugs and therapeutics committees and essential medicines processes in the PICs.

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