Three New Draft Proposals At WHO: Shortages, Snakebite, Assistive Technology 23/01/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Three new draft proposals at the World Health Organization Executive Board this week underline the importance of access and affordability, whether it is vaccines and medicines, including antivenoms, or assistive technology. The draft resolutions call on member states as well as the WHO secretariat to urgently take action to facilitate access to products and technologies at affordable prices. The Executive Board (EB) is meeting from 22-27 January. The draft resolutions are to be considered by the Board before they can be sent to the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in May. Global Shortages Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Portugal tabled a draft decision [pdf] on addressing the “global shortage of, and access to, medicines and vaccines.” The draft decision suggests that the WHO elaborate a roadmap report, in consultation with member states, outlining the programming of WHO’s work on access to medicines and vaccines, including activities, actions and deliverables for 2019-2023. They also suggest that the WHO submit the roadmap report to the 72th World Health Assembly, in May 2019, through the Board at its 144th session in 2019. This agenda item may come up on the floor of the Board meeting tomorrow (24 January), according to sources. Burden of Snakebite Envenoming A large number of countries also submitted a draft resolution [pdf] on how to address the burden of snakebite envenoming, and in particular to improve access to treatments. Angola, Australia, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Zambia submitted the draft resolution. The co-sponsors of the draft resolution say that the issue of snakebite envenoming has been “largely overlooked by the global health community” even though it can lead to “catastrophic health expenditure and exacerbate poverty.” Individuals affected by snakebite belong to impoverished agriculture and herding communities, most often are between 10 to 40 years old, the document says. The draft resolution acknowledges the “urgent need to improve access to safe, effective and affordable treatments in all regions of the world where snakebite envenoming is endemic.” calling for member states to improve availability, accessibility and affordability of antivenoms to populations at risk, and promote the transfer of knowledge and technology between member states to improve the global availability of antivenoms. The co-sponsors further ask that the WHO foster international efforts aimed at improving the availability, accessibility and affordability of safe and effective antivemons for all. They also ask WHO to cooperate with other international agencies, and provide support to member states upon request to strengthen snakebite management activities. Improving Access to Assistive Technology Algeria, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Pakistan, Philippines, and Zambia put forward a draft resolution [pdf] to improve access to assistive technology. One billion people are in need of assistive technology due to global population ageing and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, the draft resolution says, adding that this number could grow to two billion by 2050. Some 90 percent of those needing assistive technology do not have access to it, the document says. A WHO brochure [pdf] on the Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE), gives a priority list of assistive technology, including items such as closed captioning displays, crutches, fall detectors, handrails, hearing aids, and lower limb protheses. The draft resolution calls on member states to develop, implement and strengthen policies and programmes to improve access to assistive technology within universal health coverage, and promote or invest in research, development, innovation, and product design to make existing products affordable, and to develop a new generation of products. The co-sponsors also ask that member states encourage international and regional collaboration for the manufacturing, procurement and supply of priority assistive products, “ensuring that these remain affordable and available across borders.” The WHO is requested by the draft resolution to prepare a world report on assistive technology based on the “best available scientific evidence and international experience,” including the possibility of establishing an expert advisory group. A report on progress and implementation of the resolution should be presented to the 75th WHA (2022), and thereafter every four years until 2030, according to the document. Image Credits: Flickr – Fulvio Spada Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Three New Draft Proposals At WHO: Shortages, Snakebite, Assistive Technology" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.