Medical devices

United Nations Commision on Life-Saving Commodities

Mothers and babies wait outsite for health workers to arrive at a health post, Nepal.
Ashok Bhurtyal/Courtesy of Photoshare


The United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children aims to increase access to life-saving medicines and health supplies for the world’s most vulnerable people by championing efforts to reduce barriers that block access to essential health commodities. The commission has made 10 recommendations to increase access to 13 essential, overlooked commodities in four categories (reproductive health, maternal health, newborn health, and child health). WHO is fully responsible for recommendations 4 and 5 and participates in others as needed. The Medical Devices unit is specifically looking at strengthening the quality and improving the regulatory efficiency of three specific types of medical devices: the female, neonatal resuscitation equipment (mask, valve and bag), and for injectable antibiotics.

WHO guidelines and technical specifications

WHO published guidelines on basic newborn resuscitation in 2012, which provides a clinical guideline for low resource settings neonatal resuscitation to decrease infant mortality rate, can be download as below:

WHO published Technical Specifications for 13 UN Life-Saving Commodities to improve the accessibility of appropriate medical devices for UNLSC (IMPORTANT: Please note these technical specifications are under review to be updated).

To know scientific and technical requirements to formulate a female condom:


To better understand the usage and distribution of neonatal resuscitation devices in low income countries, a survey has been developed and distributed through WHO focalpoints.

UN Life-Saving Commodities Survey: Neonatal Resuscitation Devices