NEHK98 consists of two different sets of drugs and medical supplies, named a basic unit and a supplementary unit. To facilitate distribution to smaller health facilities on site, the quantities of drugs and medical supplies in the basic unit have been divided into ten identical units for 1,000 persons each.
The basic unit contains drugs, medical supplies and some essential equipment for primary health care workers with limited training. It contains 12 drugs, none of which are injectable. Simple treatment guidelines, based on symptoms, have been developed to help the training of personnel in the proper use of the drugs. Copies of these treatment guidelines, an example of which is printed in Annexes 1 to 3, should be included in each unit. Additional copies can be obtained from the Action Programme on Essential Drugs, WHO, Geneva.
The supplementary unit contains drugs and medical supplies for a population of 10,000 and is to be used only by professional health workers or physicians. It does not contain any drugs or supplies from the basic unit and can therefore only be used when these are available as well.
The selection and quantification of drugs for the basic and supplementary units have been based on recommendations for standard treatment regimens from technical units within WHO. A manual describing the standard treatment regimens for target diseases, developed in collaboration between Médecins sans Frontières and WHO, is available from Médecins sans Frontières at cost price and one copy in English, French and Spanish is included in each supplementary unit.
To facilitate identification in an emergency, one green sticker (the international colour code for medical items) should be placed on each parcel. The word “BASIC” should be printed on stickers for basic units.
The supplementary unit does not contain any drugs or supplies from the basic units. The supplementary unit should only be used together with one or more basic units.