WHO's mission in essential drugs and medicines policy is to help save lives and or improve health by closing the huge gap between the potential that essential drugs have to offer and the reality that for millions of people - particularly the poor and disadvantaged - medicines are unavailable, unaffordable, unsafe improperly used. It does this by carrying out a number of core functions: articulating policy and advocacy positions; working in partnership; producing guidelines and practical tools; developing norms and standards; stimulating strategic and operational research; developing human resources; and managing information.
In terms of TM/CAM, WHO carries out these functions by:
• Facilitating integration of TM/CAM into national health care systems
by helping Member States to develop their own national policies on TM/CAM.
• Producing guidelines for TM/CAM
by developing and providing international standards, technical guidelines and methodologies for research into TM/CAM therapies and products, and for use during manufacture of TM/CAM products.
• Stimulating strategic research into TM/CAM
by providing support for clinical research projects on the safety and efficacy of TM/CAM, particularly with reference to diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.
• Advocating the rational use of TM/CAM
by promoting evidence-based use of TM/CAM.
• Managing information on TM/CAM
by acting as a clearing-house to facilitate information exchange on TM/CAM.
But the challenges described earlier demand that WHO activities in this area be extended and increased.