Recently, the World Health Organization has released an updated list of recommendations for medicine and diagnostics tests. The hope of these updates is to provide quality healthcare access to more people who currently lack adequate medical care, either due to cost, location, lack of resources, and more.
Current Access Issues
In many areas of the world, medications and treatments that wealthy nations take for granted are hard to come by. One of many reasons for this is lack of access to important resources, like refrigeration. While keeping things cool may not initially seem like a medical emergency, seven out of 10 leading pharmaceutical products require temperature-controlled transportation. In rural and struggling areas where temperatures are too high, this can lead to many crucial medications not being stable enough to provide reliably to patients in need.
High temperatures, especially in the summer months, can lead to difficulty with other types of medical treatment as well. This is especially true of treatments that rely heavily on advanced technology and mechanization. Over 65% of IT equipment failures are directly attributed to inadequate, poorly maintained or failed air conditioning in the server room. In hot areas without enough resources to keep their medical technology cool, many patients will suffer from lack of access to appropriate care.
To help combat lack of access in certain areas of the world, the WHO is adding a series of medications and diagnostics tests to their recommendations. Among these are more heat-stable medications, particularly one medicine that can be used to treat hemorrhaging following childbirth. Postpartum hemorrhage is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide, and this medication will greatly improve the survival rate of childbirth greatly. Also on the list being sent to over 150 countries are certain types of cancer treatment, prenatal diagnostics tests, and guidelines for antibiotics use to decrease the rate of antibiotic-resistant diseases.
Improved Care In Struggling Areas
Ideally, these guidelines will bring these 150 nations up in their overall medical care standards. The recommendations made by the WHO are designed to make care both more affordable and accessible, improving standards of health worldwide. That means more people across the world accessing care that many already consider to be a standard of health. In 2016, some 91.1% of U.S. children of appropriate age were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. While Americans may consider vaccinations like this to be fairly standard, many nations simply lack the resources to make this statistic a realistic possibility. However, these guidelines and recommendations may help to move these countries toward better health care, higher rates of vaccination, and more available treatments for certain diseases and conditions.
Overall Healthcare Successes
As standards of health care begin to rise across the world, it’s possible that they will also impact nations outside of the 150 included in the most recent WHO updates. Currently, medical malpractice is one of the five most common types of personal injury cases handled in the United States. However, as care standards rise globally, it’s possible that we’ll see this number decrease. The most likely implication of the WHO recommendations changing is an overall improvement of healthcare on a global scale, as doctors and medical professionals within the countries addressed adjust their practices accordingly. While these recommendations don’t necessarily guarantee improvement, they’re certainly a step in the right direction to improving access to helpful and reliable care on a global scale.