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WHO takes giant stride in promoting medicines safety worldwide

The World Health Organisation has taken a giant stride towards helping all countries improve drug safety monitoring by launching a freely accessible web-based pharmacovigilance toolkit.

The Pharmacovigilance Toolkit brings under one umbrella all WHO PV publications and (with permission) resources and information from other organisations  on pharmacovigilance (that is, monitoring or surveillance of the safety of drugs in use in medical practice). It consists of a package of tools and a description of the supporting processes that are needed for the effective conduct of pharmacovigilance.

The main aim of the toolkit is to ensure that pharmacovigilance practitioners in low- and middle-income countries get access to the best information on the processes and activities involved in pharmacovigilance from a trusted source. All the material in the ‘PV Toolkit' is endorsed by the WHO Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicinal Products after the original text had been written by selected experts and then edited by an internal team at the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, Sweden and the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, Africa (Ghana). 

Funding for the toolkit development was provided by the WHO and it was led by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Advocacy and Training in Pharmacovigilance, University of Ghana Medical School, Accra, Ghana. "The production of the toolkit in Ghana demonstrates that emerging countries can develop and share world  standard knowledge and resources among themselves if they are given an enabling environment and appropriate support," stated Prof Alex Dodoo, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Ghana.

The Toolkit can be accessed online at www.pvtoolkit.org and is also available on USB drives in web-like format for use in areas where there is no internet connectivity. The current version of the Toolkit is in English but it will be translated to other languages depending  on the availability of funds and/or volunteers.

The Programme Manager of the WHO Pharmacovigilance Programme at WHO HQ Geneva, Dr Shanthi Pal, recommended the toolkit to all countries and called on all health development partners and the international community to continue to work with WHO as it develops, tests and deploys cost-effective solutions that will significantly improve global health and patient safety. She added:, "Given the appropriate financial support, the WHO Pharmacovigilance Programme can deploy cost-effective tools and technologies that will transform national health systems and make a huge improvement in patient safety. Without a strong pharmacovigilance system in all countries, patients will continue to suffer medicine-associated problems. This toolkit is the latest of WHO's contributions  towards ensuring that all countries are able to develop effective systems that will reduce to the barest minimum, any medicine-related problems."

Further information on the toolkit is available from Prof Alex Dodoo (alex.dodoo@who-umc.org) or Dr Shanthi Pal (pals@who.int) or by emailing info@who-umc.org or info@pvafrica.org.