Essential Drugs Monitor No. 011 (1991)
(1991; 20 pages) [French] [Spanish]


This edition of the Essential Drugs Monitor focuses on using research to improve drug use. The bulk of this Monitor is dedicated to recent studies on a wide range of drug-related issues. The first study described in this issue examines the willingness and ability of villagers in Senegal to fund community financing schemes for public health care services. Researchers found that although drugs are viewed as a priority in Senegal, there is limited knowledge about the essential drugs concept and few villagers had the ability to pay for any community schemes. The second study tested drug stability during international transport. The WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs (DAP) and UNICEF conducted a study from October 1988 to February 1989 to determine whether current shipment protocols for essential drugs transported by sea had adverse effects on drug quality or potency. The study showed that only three of the 11 drugs tested lost potency during international transport from a temperate to a tropical climate. Two important findings from this study were that antibiotics were not affected by changes in temperature or relative humidity and that humidity has a more damaging effect than temperature. A third study surveyed drug buyers and households in four regions of Benin regarding expenditures on pharmaceuticals in 1987-88. The results suggest that a substantial amount of money is being spent to purchase drugs and that many households are spending more on drugs than they can afford. The Ministry of Health in Benin is currently using the results to refocus its national drug policy. Lastly, a fourth study in this edition of the Monitor describes two qualitative research studies used by Kenya’s national Programme on Essential Drugs to develop effective communication materials on drug compliance and rational drug use.

Other major articles included in the newsletter are a feature on information and guidelines for the rational management of diarrhoea in children, a report on the evaluation of using ration kits to supply essential drugs, and the second part of an article from Monitor No. 10 on the role of medicinal plants in primary health care. The Newsdesk features several short articles on essential drugs programmes and workshops in Yemen, Venezuela, and throughout Africa. There are also features on a new course on effective drug management and rational use offered at the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology and the new Caribbean quality control laboratory in Jamaica. This Monitor concludes with its Published Lately section, highlighting many recent studies of antidiarrhoeals, tropical medicines, and traditional medicines.

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