Medicines and International Aid-case Studies
(2011; 87 pages)

The aim of this project is to raise public awareness of the benefit and problems of drug donations, because the term “International Aid” involves significant issues that go far deeper than general public opinion. Therefore, it is important to have different perspectives on the topic and to be aware of the different types of donations. It will examine the systems and background of motives and problems, as well as the donor type and the general process of international drug donations. At an approximate estimate, 5% to 40% of the drugs that are marketed in western European countries are not used. At first glance, donating these leftover drugs appears to be an appropriate and charitable option for countries that are desperately in need of essential medicines. By fighting many fatal diseases and eradicating others, drug producers have contributed to lowering mortality levels in many parts of the world. However drugs must be used carefully in order to ensure safety and efficacy. Skilled pharmaceutical personnel, labelling and strict regulations on drug usage can help prevent serious side effects and encourage appropriate use. In developing countries these criteria are difficult to fulfil. Consequently, inappropriate and expired drugs may cause more harm than good. This report is outlined in four sections. The first chapter looks at the impact and significance of the World Health Organization and aims to question the accomplishments and importance of the WHO Guidelines for Drug Donations, established in 1996. The second part of the study looks at structures and background information concerning humanitarian organizations that have specialized in providing and distributing drugs. Therefore, the second part focuses on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as international agencies active in humanitarian relief that have been established in order to alleviate poverty and health issues. Donations can be provided as a support during natural disasters, in addition to donated medicines over the long term to fight an epidemic disease. The third section examines the treatment of common infectious diseases in specific regions that “International Aid” tries to fight, along with the donations made in response to emergency situations like the Tsunami in 2004. The worldwide coordination of national and international activities in order to fight infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria, SARS, tuberculosis, and cholera represent a very significant task of the World Health Organization. On the basis of particular case studies discussed in the fourth section, the project’s objective is to assess whether these tasks have been successfully accomplished or not. In disaster-struck areas, health workers first endeavour is to save lives and fight the outbreak of diseases. The study explores the problems that inappropriate drug donations have caused, by collecting publicly available information, including interviews given by local health professionals who were confronted with these issues. It is crucial to expand general public consciousness about global health topics in order to better accomplish small steps towards health equity and an acceptable global health status. The project is reviewing relevant information in order to improve public awareness of the problems often related to drug donations. The findings can be used as a practical introduction for people who have been unfamiliar with these issues in order to encourage them to start questioning aid, donations and donor companies.

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