Flagship journal puts women’s and children’s health in focus

Local and global efforts to save, improve and extend the lives of women and children around the globe through innovative pharmacy practice are in focus this week as the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) releases the latest issue of its flagship publication.

Available online today, the August edition of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR) centres on pharmacy research and innovations around Women’s and Children’s Therapeutics for the first time, complementing the three editions themed around Geriatric Therapeutics as part of the journals six editions per year.

Editor in Chief Dr Chris Alderman says two public health examples show the need for action to help the millions of women and children who continue to suffer from serious, pervasive disability that can be mitigated, or premature mortality that can be prevented.

‘First, consider the success story of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination. Australia was the first country with a national HPV vaccination program, and the vaccine has reduced the risk of cervical cancer (and other malignancies) around the world, but the benefit has been largely concentrated among wealthy Caucasian women – clearly, there is more to be done.

‘Secondly, in a very different setting, it has been demonstrated that adding a microbially resistant starch to oral rehydration solution (ORS) – the definitive therapy for dehydration associated with acute infectious diarrhoea – leads to a sizable reduction in diarrhoea duration in children, yet acute diarrhoea remains a substantial cause of young child mortality in developing countries.

In his opening editorial, Dr Alderman says both the equitable application of efforts and funds across the globe as well as the ongoing funding and exploration of more sophisticated therapeutic approaches for health issues affecting children and women are essential.

‘Not every effective intervention is an expensive monoclonal antibody, a complicated organ transplant or a clever vaccination program – in this case more widespread availability of a simple plant derivative has the potential to save thousands of lives in the developing world.’

Dr Alderman says the triannual Women’s and Children’s Therapeutics edition of JPPR will provide a much-needed forum for the discussion of important issues related to clinical pharmacy and therapeutics.

‘This area is well overdue for greater attention in the pharmacy and broader biomedical community, and we warmly welcome contributions from pharmacists and all health professionals addressing this important area.’

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