WHPCA – UNGASS Update 

WHPCA

From WHPCA emailer

Advocacy Update
In April of 2016, the UN General Assembly will hold a special session in New York on the world drug problem (UNGASS). Leading up to this meeting are several other key meetings of countries where we will be advocating that the public health dimensions of the world drug problem be addressed. We want you to reach out now to health officials in your country to encourage them to speak up about improving access to opioid analgesics, palliative care, and pain management.

What you can do:

  • Express concern about the limited availability of controlled medicines, especially opioid analgesics, in most of the world. The INCB annual report for 2014 estimates that 75% of the world population does not have adequate access to these medicines;
  • Emphasize the need for a UN-Wide response to this public health crisis. including WHO, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Development Program and others;
  • Stress the importance of the new Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) on health and the need to address challenges with availability of controlled medicines to achieve this goal;
  • Call for the recognition of the WHO as the leading UN body in the global response to opioid availability;
  • Call for the UNGASS on Drugs outcome document to mandate a UN-Wide effort to address this public health crisis and specifically to:
    • Call for the UN to develop a plan of action to address the limited availability of controlled medicines in much of the world while preventing their misuse and diversion.
    • Call on countries to review their drug regulations to ensure they do not needlessly impede with the proper medical of controlled substances.
    • Call on countries to review their estimates for controlled medicines to ensure they reflect the actual requirements for medical and scientific use.
    • Call on countries to ensure adequate training of health professionals both in the use of the controlled medicines and in strategies to prevent misuse and diversion.
    • Call on countries to ensure that pain and palliative care are included in universal health coverage packages, as well as opioid analgesics.

What should you do now?

  • Contact health officials in your ministry and find out who will be preparing your country’s intervention on Agenda item 6.4 of the WHO Executive Board meeting, 25-30 January 2016.
  • Request relevant health officials to include the above points in their intervention.
You can find more background information on the UNGASS on drugs here.
For a more detailed explanation of this strategy click here.