WHO updates critical medicine list for governments to stockpile in case of nuclear emergency
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Geneva: The World Health Organisation has updated the list of emergency medicines that governments should have ready in case a radiological or nuclear emergency is triggered.
The report focuses mainly on pharmaceutical supplies needed to treat radiation exposures. Iodide tablets, antiemetics, anti-diarrhoeal agents, decorporating agents, alkylating agents, and other medications have been included in the updated list of pharmaceutical supplies.
Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme said, “This updated critical medicines list will be a vital preparedness and readiness tool for our partners to identify, procure, stockpile and deliver effective countermeasures in a timely fashion to those at risk or exposed in these events.”
The report hasn’t been changed since 2007. According to Fox News, although no specific reason has been cited for the change, the increasing threat of a radiological disaster owing to the Russia-Ukraine war might have prompted WHO to update it.
Dr Maria Neira, the Acting Assistant Director-General at WHO said, “It is essential that governments are prepared to protect the health of populations and respond immediately to emergencies.”
“This includes having ready supplies of lifesaving medicines that will reduce risks and treat injuries from radiation,” she added.
The updated report specifies the roles of national health authorities and WHO in stockpile development.
“As the leading international organization in public health with both the authority and responsibility to assist in health emergencies, WHO provides advice and guidance to countries on public health preparedness and response to radiation emergencies, including stockpile development,” the report says.
It also cites examples of practices set by selected countries in establishing and managing a national stockpile. These countries are Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and USA.
Radiological disasters can occur following an accident at a nuclear power or can be triggered by an intentional detonation of a nuclear bomb in an armed conflict.
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