WHO updates list of medicines for nuclear emergencies
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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday updated the list of medicines and drugs it recommends to treat exposure to radiological and nuclear emergencies for the first time since 2007.
The updated list, which advises nations on how to stockpile for nuclear and radiological accidents and emergencies, is included in a new WHO report reflecting data and research for related medical treatment that emerged in the last decade.
Maria Neira, the director of the WHO’s Department of Public Health and Environment, said it was important for nations and governments to have “ready supplies of lifesaving medicines that will reduce risks and treat injuries from radiation.”
“In radiation emergencies, people may be exposed to radiation at doses ranging from negligible to life-threatening,” Neira said in a statement. “Governments need to make treatments available for those in need — fast.”
The WHO says a typical radiation emergency stockpile should include stable iodine to reduce the exposure of the thyroid to radioactive iodine; chelating agents to reduce radioactive cesium, which can form during nuclear fission, from the body; and cytokines to mitigate damage to the bone marrow.
The list notes several others that can treat infection, diarrhea, vomiting or other causes of bodily injury and harm from radiation exposure. It also details the types of medicine and chemicals, explaining how to store and manage them and how to use drugs for treatment in an emergency.
There are about 440 nuclear reactors across the world, and nine countries, including the U.S., are considered nuclear powers. The WHO says several countries still lack proper preparedness measures for radiation emergencies.
Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said in a statement the updated list will be crucial for governmental preparedness.
“This updated critical medicines list will be a vital preparedness and readiness tool for our partners to identify, procure, stockpile and deliver effective countermeasures in a timely fashion to those at risk or exposed in these events,” said Ryan.
According to the international media, the world health body issued guidance on how to survive a nuclear catastrophe in a new report Friday, warning against 'intentional uses of radioactive materials with malicious intent'.
The report was published as the specter of nuclear war looms over the world after the West supplied state-of-the-art tanks to Ukraine to the fury of Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin accused NATO of a 'blatant provocation' and threatened a 'global catastrophe' in response to the deal. The European Union officials observed that Putin had 'moved from a concept of a special operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West'.
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.
'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.
'WHO outlines that a national stockpile normally includes PPE, trauma kits, fluids, antibiotics and painkillers.
But the health body said: 'Many countries, however, still lack the essential elements of preparedness for radiation emergencies.'
The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its list of medicines to stockpile for 'radiological or nuclear emergencies', reported 24NewsHD TV channel.