World Health Assembly
New global strategy and targets for tuberculosis
Member States approved a resolution endorsing a new global strategy and targets for tuberculosis (TB) prevention, care and control after 2015. The strategy aims to end the global TB epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95% and to cut new cases by 90% by 2035. It sets interim milestones for 2020, 2025, and 2030. The resolution calls on governments to adapt and implement the strategy with high-level commitment and financing. It reinforces a focus within the strategy on serving populations highly vulnerable to infection and poor health care access, such as migrants. The strategy and resolution highlight the need to engage partners within the health sector and beyond, such as in the fields of social protection, labour, immigration and justice. The resolution requests the WHO Secretariat to help Member States adapt and operationalize the strategy, noting the importance of tackling the problem of multidrug-resistant TB and promoting collaboration across international borders. WHO is also asked to monitor implementation and evaluate progress towards the milestones and the 2035 targets.
The estimated number of people falling ill with tuberculosis each year is slowly declining and the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to reverse the spread of TB by 2015. However, TB remains one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases, present in all regions of the world. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died from TB. Some 450,000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB in 2012.
Antimicrobial drug resistance
The delegates recognized their growing concern of antimicrobial resistance and urged governments to strengthen national action and international collaboration. This requires sharing information on the extent of resistance and the use of antibiotics in humans and animals. It also involves improving awareness among health providers and the public of the threat posed by resistance, the need for responsible use of antibiotics, and the importance of good hand hygiene and other measures to prevent infections. The resolution urges Member States to strengthen drug management systems, to support research to extend the lifespan of existing drugs, and to encourage the development of new diagnostics and treatment options.
As requested in the resolution, WHO will develop a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance for presentation to the World Health Assembly for approval next year.
Addressing the global challenge of violence, in particular against women and girls
Across the world, each year, nearly 1.4 million people lose their lives to violence. Women and girls experience specific forms of violence that are often hidden. Globally, one in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence at least once in her life. For every person who dies as a result of violence, many more are injured and suffer from a range of adverse physical and mental health conditions.
Member States will work to strengthen the role of the health system in addressing violence. WHO will develop a global plan of action to strengthen the role of national health systems within a multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children.
Access to essential medicines
WHO’s strategy to help countries improve access to essential medicines was approved. Key principles include selecting a limited range of medicines on the basis of the best evidence available, efficient procurement, affordable prices, effective distribution systems, and rational use. The WHO Essential medicines list was recognized as a valuable tool that enables countries to identify a core set of medicines which need to be available to provide quality medical care.
Health intervention and technology assessment in support of universal health coverage
Many countries currently lack the capacity to assess the merits of health technology. Health Technology Assessment (HTA) involves systematically evaluating the properties, effects, and/or impacts of different health technologies. Its main purpose is to inform technology-related policy-making in health care, and thus improve the uptake of cost-effective new technologies and prevent the uptake of technologies that are of doubtful value for the health system. Wasteful spending on medicines and other technologies has been identified as a major cause of inefficiencies in health service delivery.
Following the adoption of a resolution on HTA at the Health Assembly, WHO will support capacity-building for health technology assessment in countries. It will provide tools and guidance to prioritize health technologies and intensify networking and information exchange among countries to support priority setting.
Health in the post-2015 development agenda
Member States approved a resolution on health in the post-2015 development agenda, stressing the need for ongoing engagement in the process of setting the agenda. This includes a need to complete the unfinished work of the health Millennium Development Goals, newborn health, as well as an increased focus on non-communicable diseases, mental health, and neglected tropical diseases. The resolution also stresses the importance of universal health coverage and the need to strengthen health systems. Accountability through regular assessment of progress by strengthening civil registration, vital statistics and health information systems are crucial. Member States emphasized the importance of having health at the core of the post-2015 development agenda.
Newborn health: draft action plan
The first-ever global plan to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths by 2035, calls for all countries to aim for fewer than 10 newborn deaths per 1000 live births and less than 10 stillbirths per 1000 total births by 2035.
Every year almost 3 million babies die in the first month of life and 2.6 million babies are stillborn (die in the last 3 months of pregnancy or during childbirth). Most of these deaths could be prevented by cost-effective interventions.
The Plan’s goals will require every country to invest in high-quality care before, during and after childbirth for every pregnant woman and newborn and highlights the urgent need to record all births and deaths.
Date of upload: 14th July 2014
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