E-DRUG: Outdated WHO emergency kit (3)
Dr Jansen is right is saying that the New Emergency Health Kit 98 is
outdated: an updated version is at an advanced stage of development.
The naming of the kit has been troublesome particularly the word "New" and
as an attempt to get away from this the interagency group working on the
update has agreed on the name "Interagency Emergency Health Kit". This
interagency group includes ICRC, IFRC, IOM, MSF, Save the Children(UK),
UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF and an input from others including WHO Departments.
Originally in the 1980s the kit was called the "WHO Emergency Health Kit"
but the WHO element was dropped in recognition of the fact that the main
contributors are now other organizations with greater emergency field
experience. The role of WHO is of coordination and for this update much help
and support from WHO Roll Back Malaria.
The interagency group has agreed a number of major changes to the
organization and content of the kit while the basic structure remains the
same with 10 basic units and a single supplementary unit for use by well
trained healthcare workers. All kits will be provided, on a standard basis
as the default position, with medicines for malaria and for the prospective
treatment of rape victims. Only at the specific request of the purchaser
will a kit be provided without provision for malaria or the "module"
specifically intended for areas with a particularly high prevalence of
The major revision of the kit contents includes provision of artemether +
lumefantrine (tab), artemether (inj) and diagnostic kits for the rapid
diagnosis of malaria, the addition of atenolol, ceftriaxone, cloxacillin,
ibuprofen, magnesium sulfate with calcium gluconate, the substitution of
albendazole for mebendazole, miconazole and clotrimazole for nystatin, and
the adjustment of quantities of a number of medicines and minor equipment
changes. Acetylsalicylic acid, chloramphenical, chloroquine and sulfadoxine
+ pyrimethamine have been dropped.
While chloroquine is now ineffective in many malarial areas and has been
superseded by more effective medicines it has not actually been banned
In reply to Murtada Sesay's posting the situation is that the contents have
been agreed with the exception of some minor quantity adjustments. A further
recalculation and checking of the quantities of needles and syringes is also
needed. Recently the issue was raised as to whether sulfamethoxazole +
trimethoprim is still the most suitable medicine for the basic units. Once
there is full agreement between the agencies the revised content will be
posted on the WHO Medicines website. A new document on the updated kit can
be expected before the end of this year.
Dr Hans V Hogerzeil, Director (email@example.com)
Dr Robin Gray, Medical Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department of Medicines Policy and Standards (PSM)
World Health Organization