Following the adoption of the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA60.20 in May 2007, WHO launched the “make medicines child size” project on 6 December 2007. This project is a global campaign to raise awareness and accelerate action to address the need for improved availability of and access to safe, child-specific medicines for all children. With the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO will work to promote scientific studies of medicines for children leading to specific formulations tailored for use in children, and
making these medicines available. By improving access to children’s medicines, the
project seeks to directly support and address some of the major issues in Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4).
A WHO Subcommittee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines developed the first-ever Model Essential Medicines List for children (EMLc) in
2007 and revised it in 2008. The process also identified “missing” essential
medicines for children, based on the best available evidence. Advocacy for the project was started by promoting the cause of “better medicines for children” to policy- and decision-makers, clinicians and other professionals, representatives of
professional associations and drug supply managers. The project now has many country activities flowing from these initial global activities.
An Informal consultation on better medicines for children in India was held on 2–3 February 2010 at the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO). The objectives were to explore the feasibility of implementing the project in a
few states of India and to discuss a broad outline of the activities to be carried
out under the project at the national and state levels. Prior to the India meeting,
the Essential Drug Lists of five Empowered Action Group (EAG) States from central India, namely, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh were compared with the WHO Model EMLc in order to document areas of discordance and identify gaps in implementing the lists with special reference
to children’s formulations...After deliberations, the broad objectives and outline
of the project in India were formulated. It was agreed that the activities would be as follows:
- Development of a national EMLc by the IAP for inclusion in the national essential medicines list (NEML) of India currently being formulated by the Government of India (GOI) with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as the lead agency;
- Activities in two EAG states (Chhattisgarh
and Orissa) that include development of an EMLc with updating of the EML and
facilitation of activities to ensure that procurement follows the EML, and undertaking
availability and affordability surveys of children’s medicines in these states before and after updating the State EMLc and EML, with at least one procurement cycle using the revised EML.