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WHO acknowledges improved access to quality medicines, vaccines

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it has designated 33 national and regional regulatory authorities as WHO Listed Authorities, recognised for meeting the highest standards in regulatory practices for quality of medicines and vaccines.

The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said this during online media conference on global health issues on Tuesday.

Ghebreyesus said as WHO Listed Authorities, the agencies can be relied on for quality and safety of medicines and vaccines and to streamline processes, optimise resources, and expedite access to medicines and vaccines.

According to him, this brings the total to 36 listed authorities from 34 Member States since March 2022 when the initiative was launched.

He said “newly approved listed authorities include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Regulatory Network.

“The approval covers all regulatory functions for generic and new medicines, biotherapeutics and vaccines.”

The WHO boss added that Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority previously designated as a listed authority, received approval for an expanded scope, which now includes market surveillance and control, covering all regulatory functions.

He said “with leading regulatory authorities joining our list, we are stronger and more united to improve access to quality, safe and effective medicines and vaccines for millions more people.”

Ghebreyesus also said that the new data shows Sexually Transmitted Diseases are on the rise in most regions.

He explained that “new syphilis cases among adults aged 15-49 years increased by nearly one million in 2022, reaching eight million, with 230,000 syphilis-related deaths.

“The highest increases occurred in the Region for the Americas and the African Region.

“New data also shows an increase in multi-resistant gonorrhoea,” he said.

According to him, as of 2023, out of 87 countries where enhanced gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance surveillance was conducted, nine countries reported elevated levels of resistance to the last line of treatment.

The director general said WHO has updated its recommended treatment to reduce the spread of this multi-resistant gonorrhoea strain.

He announced that “by end of the month, leaders from around the world would participate in the World Health Assembly.

“This year could be one of the most significant in our 76-year history as two years of government-led negotiations to strengthen the global pandemic and response apparatus are high on the agenda.

“Member states have in principle agreed to a package of amendments to strengthen the International Health Regulations.

“The amendments set out to improve how countries prepare for, detect and respond to Public Health Emergencies of International Concern, and will be part of a package put forward at the Assembly.”

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