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Modifying the Interagency Emergency Health Kit to include treatment for non-communicable diseases in natural disasters and complex emergencies
  1. Marcello Tonelli1,
  2. Natasha Wiebe2,
  3. Brian Nadler2,
  4. Ara Darzi3,
  5. Shahnawaz Rasheed3
  1. 1Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marcello Tonelli; tonelli.admin{at}


The Interagency Emergency Health Kit (IEHK) provides a standard package of medicines and simple medical devices for aid agencies to use in emergencies such as disasters and armed conflicts. Despite the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in such settings, the IEHK includes few drugs and devices for management of NCDs. Using published data to model the population burden of acute and chronic presentations of NCDs in emergency-prone regions, we estimated the quantity of medications and devices that should be included in the IEHK. NCDs considered were cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension and chronic respiratory disease. In scenario 1 (the primary scenario), we assumed that resources in the IEHK would only include those needed to manage acute life-threatening conditions. In scenario 2, we included resources required to manage both acute and chronic presentations of NCDs. Drugs and devices that might be required included amlodipine, aspirin, atenolol, beclomethasone, dextrose 50%, enalapril, furosemide, glibenclamide, glyceryl trinitrate, heparin, hydralazine, hydrochlorothiazide, insulin, metformin, prednisone, salbutamol and simvastatin. For scenario 1, the number of units required ranged from 12 (phials of hydralazine) to ∼15 000 (tablets of enalapril). Space and weight requirements were modest and total cost for all drugs and devices was approximately US$2078. As expected, resources required for scenario 2 were much greater. Space and cost requirements increased proportionately: estimated total cost of scenario 2 was $22 208. The resources required to treat acute NCD presentations appear modest, and their inclusion in the IEHK seems feasible.

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Contributors MT conceived and designed the study. MT drafted the manuscript. NW performed the statistical analyses. All authors have made substantial contributions to the development of the manuscript, all have been involved in revising it for important intellectual content and all approved the final version. MT had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Extracted data together with calculations are available on request.

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