Support for the developing world
Doctors, pharmacists and other health workers in many developing countries do not have access to independent information about which medicines to use to achieve the best health outcomes for their patients. Instead, most of their information needs are met by personal persuasion and information from a willing pharmaceutical industry wanting to maximise sales of their products.
A commercial agenda is not equivalent to a health agenda and, in this environment, the needs of patients and health professionals can be subsumed by commercial imperatives—healthy profits at the expense of patient health. Not only that, but in the absence of subsidised health care and health insurance, patients also bear the financial burden often at the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and education.
Australian health professionals and their patients are fortunate. Since the 1970s they have been able to rely on information from Therapeutic Guidelines Limited (TGL), a not-for-profit organisation that exists solely to provide health professionals with independent, expert advice on the best medicines to prescribe for specific illnesses and medical conditions.
Australians concerned about improving health care in developing countries can now help by donating to a TGL charitable fund that allows TGL to provide its information to poorer countries free of charge.
The TGL information is provided via hardcopy and electronic texts—Therapeutic Guidelines—which offer clear, concise, evidence-based recommendations totally independent of both the pharmaceutical industry and government. Developed by Australia’s leading health experts, these texts are a unique resource used in all Australian medical and pharmacy schools and also in our hospitals, medical centres and pharmacies.
Often referred to as a ‘national treasure’ by Australian health professionals, Therapeutic Guidelines are also highly acclaimed internationally. So, not surprisingly, doctors and pharmacists in developing countries, who normally do not have access to this kind of information, desperately want Therapeutic Guidelines to help them, their patients and communities. And TGL is committed to making this happen.
How you can help
In the past few years TGL has received, and responded to, hundreds of requests for its books and electronic products from health workers in developing countries—including people from Nepal, Indonesia, Bhutan, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Myanmar (Burma) and Sri Lanka.
While TGL is committed and able to support its Australian activities through the sale of its products to Australian health professionals, it urgently needs financial support to expand its current program of providing Therapeutic Guidelines free of charge to groups in developing countries.
Your donation to the Therapeutic Guidelines charitable fund will support this program. Cheques should be made out to Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd – Donations Account. Every dollar donated will be used to support the supply of Therapeutic Guidelines to developing countries. Information about use of the funds will be published on www.tg.com.au.
All donations above AU$2.00 are tax deductible.
TGL is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient as a health promotion charity. See http://www.abr.business.gov.au.
TGL donation form.pdf [85.6KB]
Contact Siân Hughes on +61 3 9329 6427 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“First of all I would like to show my immense gratitude for providing us with free Therapeutic Guidelines for Bhutan. They have really helped us in all areas of decision making and above all in extracting training materials on therapeutics.
Further, Therapeutic Guidelines were extensively used:
- to select essential drugs for inclusion in the Bhutan National formulary by the National drug committee
- to develop the National formulary
- in training, such as training on pain management, and
- in making day to day clinical decisions by health professionals in Bhutan.
The availability of such ready made information that is evidence-based and unbiased is very useful in Bhutan since we do not have the competence and resources to do such elaborate literature reviews.
Many of the developing nations would be undergoing difficulties like ours when it comes to giving information in a short span of time, and I would feel that Therapeutic Guidelines would benefit them too like it has benefited us here in Bhutan. It has for me functioned like the medical encyclopaedia where I am able to get almost all information I seek electronically.
I and the patients here remain grateful for the support you have provided with Therapeutic Guidelines and we would be grateful if you could assist us further with the updated and revised version of it on a regular basis.”
Head of Pharmacy Department and Staff, National Referral Hospital, Thimphu
“The Therapeutic Guidelines have been invaluable to our work, as they provide us with evidence-based, non-biased, current information on medicines in a disease focused context. The electronic version is very easy to use and is full of comparative tables that are easy to print and useful to all health workers.
We are currently reviewing our standard treatment guidelines and the Therapeutic Guidelines are very helpful as they provide non-biased, comparative information on drugs available to treat a particular condition. Although, we will not be able to afford many of the drugs, it is important that we have access to evidence-based comparisons, so we can select the most appropriate drugs. There are many medicines available in the Solomon Islands. There are few medicine information resources to ensure that these medicines are used safely and effectively.
One of the roles of the training unit within our pharmacy division is to coordinate a Pharmacy Officer Certificate course. … Because of the practical nature of the course, a lot of the coursework is done by the students in a self-study approach. The Therapeutic Guidelines are quite comprehensive and specific in terms of management and treatment of disease/ condition … give the students an insight into what needs to be considered before commencing a patient on a certain therapy.
As a trainer pharmacist, the Therapeutic Guidelines have been really useful in reviewing teaching modules for the course and also collating material for continuing education for other pharmacy staff.”
A friend of mine introduced me to Therapeutic Guidelines in 2002 and we have been using the Therapeutic Guidelines CD since then. We share the CD among pharmacology departments in all 5 medical universities, 2 universities of pharmacy and 2 universities of nursing in Myanmar. The CD is also used by interested physicians in clinical medicine.
As we would like to use recent developments in teaching approximately 3000 third year medical students and hundreds of pharmacists and nurses each year, would it be possible to donate previous CDs?
Professor of Pharmacology, Yangon
I’m writing to put on record the deep appreciation of the Fiji School of Medicine for all the copies of Guidelines that you have sent to us for distribution to the medical students here at the Fiji School of Medicine.
Fiji does have its own guidelines in certain selected areas, although as you well know they were originally adapted from the TGL publications. However the publications from TGL are much more detailed than the Fiji guidelines, and provide excellent and practical advice for virtually all the clinical situations that our medical graduates will face in their future practice.
The medical students here in Fiji are like bright students anywhere in the world – they quickly learn what is useful and what is not. I know they find the TGL publications extremely useful, not only from the number of requests I get for copies from students who might have missed out on their distribution, but also from observation of the number of students who carry them around in their ubiquitous back-packs.
I certainly hope the current arrangement can continue whereby TGL makes available to the Fiji School of Medicine students free-of-charge copies of the superseded edition when a new edition is published. It has certainly been an enormous assistance to Pacific island countries, and you should be extremely proud of the contribution you are making to the future health of the people of the Pacific.
Professor of Medicine, Fiji School of Medicine
World Health Organization
The availability of Therapeutic Guidelines would be one of the most cost effective interventions I can think of to encourage the rational use of medicines in the South East Asia Region (SEAR) which represents a quarter of the world’s population. This is simply because at present there is no source of unbiased drug information so a constant supply of such information that can be liberally used by institutions would be an effective and valuable resource where it is ground zero at present.
Obviously the availability of Therapeutic Guidelines is not going to make a change overnight and even with its potential fully realised it is unlikely to have a major impact on the whole population of 1.5 billion in SEAR. However, for doctors who know that medicines should be used properly and are hungrily searching for the correct information, Therapeutic Guidelines would be a gold mine. And for those who work in drug information centres and who want to provide good drug information but have few resources to do so, Therapeutic Guidelines will be seen as the fountain from which to provide reliable information.
Dr Krisantha Weerasuriya MD FRCP PhD
Essential Drugs and Other Medicines (EDM)
WHO South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO)
It’s my pleasure to write to you about the utility of Therapeutic Guidelines at our drug information centre (DIC) in particular and in our hospital in general. As you know, being located in a developing country like Nepal, access to unbiased, objective and independent information about drugs and therapy poses a great challenge in the practice of evidence-based medicine. The rational use of drugs cannot be possible without easy and timely access to an independent source of drug information. Health care professionals in this part of the World are either too busy to keep themselves updated about the recent development in areas of drugs and therapeutics or they lack access to unbiased and independent sources of drug information. Here, at our DIC, we use Therapeutic Guidelines to answer the queries asked by health care professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics) about drugs and therapy. Since eTG complete is an electronic version of the information, it saves us time and energy immensely in searching and processing the answer.
Although Therapeutic Guidelines have been developed and prepared in a developed country like Australia, they serve very well the purpose of developing countries as well, as they provide information about the common problems (diseases) of developing countries. Developing software like eTG complete in our part of the World needs plenty of resources, expertise and involvement of the concerned, which is really difficult to organise.
Officer-in-Charge, Drug Information Centre, Teaching Hospital, Pokhara
In a country where developing similar guidelines is almost an impossibility, because of the lack of resources and data, the Australian guidelines are readily accepted by the local health professionals and bridge this gap. The Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo also use them in providing evidence-based information in the following situations. …undergraduate and postgraduate teaching; rational prescribing; drug information services; personal practice; research activities as a reference source.
The Australian Therapeutic Guidelines were used in formulating the 2006 National Essential Medicines List for Sri Lanka.
Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
After almost one year using the information from Therapeutic Guidelines, I found that Therapeutic Guidelines have been a valuable resource to support my activities as a clinical pharmacist and as the secretary of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee in the hospital…Unfortunately, in Indonesia we have very limited good reference resources to support us in making the right clinical decisions to optimise therapy for our patients. As far as I know, to date there are no other products similar to Therapeutic Guidelines available in Indonesia. I understand that it is not an easy task to develop such guidelines. (I wish to express) my high appreciation to you and the team for the commitment and hard work in providing independent information to assist health professionals in optimising the management of therapy for the patients. I do hope that in the near future Therapeutic Guidelines will be more readily accessible and affordable to us in Indonesia.
Pharmacy Department, Major Hospital, Jakarta
Your generous gift arrived … and the books were immediately distributed among the doctors and paramedics. They had been coping with manuals dating from the 1970s and one from 1993.
There has been a serious need for an up-to-date guide for antibiotic use. Here the so called new advances are those promulgated by the various drug company representatives, all of whom have their own products to promote. Not all of these are either appropriate for the vaunted task or of reliable quality, (both representatives and drugs!) Your gift gives great encouragement to those who are treating some 20,000 new out-patients each year.
Medical Staff, Hospital, Haluaghat, Mymensingh District, Bangladesh
The drug information center, an NGO in Kazakhstan, has been working for 5 years in areas such as evidence–based medicine and its main role is to provide unbiased and objective information for health care practitioners and patients. In (preparing to develop) therapeutic guidelines for Kazakhstan health system a lot of material was considered. One of the examples was Australian Therapeutic Guidelines. The Australian Therapeutic Guidelines were chosen by the Ministry of Health and approved as a good template to create the National Kazakhstan guidelines.
Alexander Gulyaev, MD, PhD, Zdrav Plus Project, Karaganda, Kazakhstan