Essential medicines for children

Priority life-saving medicines for women and children

Priority live-saving medicines for women and children 2012

The list of priority medicines for mothers and children 2011 has been updated following the 18th Expert Committee on Selection and Use of Medicines, the release of new treatment guidelines and feedback from stakeholders.

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Priority medicines are medicines with potential to save lives and should be available in all health systems. The priority medicines list for mothers and children helps countries select and make available the most important medicines.

Major causes of death in mothers and children could be prevented or treated with access to simple and affordable medicines. However, many medicines are not available in countries.

In order to improve access, priority medicines should be:

  • Manufactured according to quality standards
  • Licensed for use by regulatory authorities
  • On National Essential Medicines lists
  • Part of national standard treatment guidelines
  • Procured from the supplier of a quality product
  • In the supply chain
  • Prescribed by health care professionals who know how to use them

Related links


Essential medicines


Treatment guidelines

Supply chain management

Information on medicine use for health care workers

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