The Better Medicines for Children project aims to promote better use of
medicines in children, promote access to medicines for children, filling knowledge gaps about priority medicines for children and promoting research and development of
essential medicines for children. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is in its the second year.
Members of the implementation teams for the Better Medicines for Children
project from Ghana, India and the United Republic of Tanzania, researchers from IPI and Dartmouth University, and staff from the Medicines, Access and Rational Use team at WHO Geneva met for a two day meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the progress of the implementation of the project in countries thus far
and to plan the next steps. The next steps will be included in the country work plans
WHO has made progress on a number of areas such as peadiatric tuberculosis,
with the finalization and publication of a number of studies on tuberculosis
medicines and updated guidelines for the treatment of tuberculosis in children. In addition
the WHO Model Formulary for Children has been published, workshops on Essential medicines Lists have been held and the Pediatric medicines Regulatory Network
has been established.
In Ghana, remarkable progress has been made in completing a baseline survey, assessments of local manufacturing capacity, pricing and availability studies
and an assessment of the quality of paediatric care. Work in the United Republic of Tanzania was delayed due to organizational changes in the Ministry of Health
which affected the timing of funded activities, however a renewed commitment to the project will drive the progress forward. A study was completed on administration practices and preferred formulations in Tanzania which provides important data
on practices and end user preferences. Much progress has also been noted in India
with the commencement of the pricing and availability studies and the development of Essential Medicines Lists for children in two states.
Implementation teams outlined their next steps for the coming year. Work will
focus on finalizing the assessments and sharing the results with stakeholders.
Additional studies are planned which will increase the knowledge of the paediatric
formulation markets. Advocacy and training will be carried out for the implementation of Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines Lists. A communications and advocacy project will also be implemented in the countries to promote the manufacture, procurement and supply of essential paediatric medicines.