|Essential Drugs in Brief No. 1 - 2000 (WHO/DAP - WHO/EDM, 2000, 4 p.)|
The ultimate test of all WHO work is whether it contributes to improving the pharmaceutical and health sectors within countries. WHO serves countries and regions in two ways: by providing direct country support and through the development of policy and normative guidelines that can be adapted by countries to meet national needs.
Country support has been WHOs largest area of activity in pharmaceuticals, and is provided in response to countries expressed wish to develop their pharmaceutical services. At the same time, many donors have been keen to use WHOs health and pharmaceutical expertise when providing their own country support.
Policy and normative work is demand-driven, based on the needs of the countries. For example, the Essential Drugs Concept and the First Model List of Essential Drugs were developed in response to numerous country requests for pharmaceutical sector assistance.
The need is reciprocal, though, for irrespective of how country work is triggered or instigated, it is a fundamental resource for WHO.
Only by undertaking such work can WHO develop its evidence and knowledge base, and maintain its level of health expertise. This is crucial if the Organization is to maintain its position as the worlds leading authority on public health issues and its capacity to serve Member States.
We are structuring our work to ensure that WHO speaks with one voice in the area of pharmaceuticals and essential drugs... WHO remains committed to working with countries to develop and implement effective national policies and programmes. WHO Director-General, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, address to Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revised Drugs Strategy, Geneva, 13 October 1998.
Placing countries - with their needs and the experience they provide - at the core of all WHOs pharmaceutical work is clearly essential. Essential drugs in brief will report on the latest WHO activities carried out in and for countries.