Neglected tropical diseases: Enhancing safe treatment for over 1 billion annually

Health Watch

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 by the World health organisation (WHO).
According to the 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.
“The manual does not make new recommendations, but aims to consolidate and emphasise the critical aspects of the WHO’s existing guidance on the safe and efficacious administration of medicines to more than a billion people a year,” technical officer, WHO department of control of NTDs Dr Denise Mupfasoni said.
“It is intended to improve the work of programme managers, public health workers, community drug distributors, regional and country office staff, non-government organisations, and other implementing partners and donors who support such activities.”
Although the manual can be used as a standalone reference document, it should be employed in conjunction with its accompanying training modules, which provide practical instruction, as well as the annexed aide-mémoires.
“The safety of people receiving medicines to treat and eliminate NTDs is a primary concern for the WHO,” team lead, community and primary care-based interventions, department of control of NTDs Dr Jonathan King said.
“This manual supports broader visions of universal health coverage and the NTD road map for 2030 through the promotion of safe, high-quality, people-centred interventions available to all persons affected by NTDs.”
Medicines for NTDs, mainly donated by pharmaceutical companies, are manufactured under stringent regulatory authority guidelines or are prequalified by the WHO.
To ensure their safe administration, the WHO 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.