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WHO updates medicine list for radiological, nuclear emergencies

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Geneva, Jan 27 (Prensa Latina) The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday updated its list of medicines that should be stockpiled for radiological and nuclear emergencies, and added policy recommendations for proper management.

Such stockpiles include medicines that either prevent or reduce exposure to radiation, or treat injuries once exposure has occurred.

“In radiation emergencies, people may be exposed to radiation at doses ranging from negligible to life-threatening. Governments need to make treatments available for those in need – fast,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Acting Assistant Director-General a.i, Healthier Population Division.

“It is essential that governments are prepared to protect the health of populations and respond immediately to emergencies. This includes having ready supplies of lifesaving medicines that will reduce risks and treat injuries from radiation,” she stressed.

This publication supersedes the 2007 WHO report on the development of national stockpiles for radiological emergencies.

Typically, a national stockpile for all-hazards health emergencies would include generic supplies and materials used for any type of emergencies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), trauma kits, fluids, antibiotics and painkillers.

This publication includes only specific drugs which are known and licensed today to prevent or treat human over-exposure to radiation.

Radiological and nuclear emergencies may result in exposure to radiation doses high enough to lead to severe health consequences or even death.

It is therefore extremely important that governments respond rapidly to such threats.

Many countries, however, still lack the essential elements of preparedness for radiation emergencies, according to annual reporting to the WHO Secretariat.

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