Essential Medicines and Basic Health Technologies for Noncommunicable Diseases: Towards a Set of Actions to Improve Equitable Access in Member States. WHO Discussion Paper, 2 July 2015
(2015; 29 pages)


In May 2013, in response to global assignments for WHO included in the 2011 Political Declaration, the World Health Assembly endorsed 9 concrete global NCD targets for 2025, organized around the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020, including targets 9 which states: “an 80% availability of the affordable basic technologies and essential medicines, including generics, required to treat major noncommunicable diseases in both public and private facilities.”

A key aspect of NCD prevention and control require that patients have equitable access to affordable medicines and technologies. Unfortunately, bottlenecks present within and outside health systems have continued to undermine this necessity and contribute to the rising burden of NCDs. Spending on medicines and other health technologies are noted to put severe strains on health budgets, accounting for more than half of total current health expenditures in some countries.

In order to strengthen efforts to realize the achievement of this target, the Secretariat has developed a discussion paper on access to essential medicines and basic health technologies for NCDs. The objective is to engage stakeholders through a consultative process, to help define ways and means to assist Member States in their national efforts to improve equitable access through a set of actions.

The paper describes some of the key bottlenecks Member States face, it presents ideas on how WHO and relevant stakeholders can support Member States in their national efforts and it provides questions to stimulate and elicit feedback in order to give input to WHO work, on how to support Member States to improve access to essential medicines and basic health technologies for NCDs.

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