By Jorge Rojas-Ruiz, Humanitas Global
This week in Geneva, high-level leaders and delegates from World Health Organization’s (WHO) 194 member states have gathered for the sixty-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA). There are many urgent and key topics on the agenda, including:
- efforts to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers and chronic lung disease;
- a new global strategy and targets to prevent and control tuberculosis;
- proposals to improve the health of patients with viral hepatitis;
- a draft action plan for newborn health;
- progress on WHO’s global strategy for maternal and young child nutrition;
- progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and the role of health on the post-2015 development agenda;
- ways to tackle antimicrobial drug resistance;
- efforts to improve access to essential medicines and strengthen the system that regulate medicines;
- management of autism; and
- protecting more people from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Childhood obesity, a fast rising problem in developing countries, was a specific target in the opening address of WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, where she announced a new initiative, the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. The Commission will develop a report by next year’s WHA detailing context-specific strategies to help combat child obesity throughout the world.
One of the first accomplishments of this year’s WHA was the passing of a resolution endorsing new global targets to prevent, care and control tuberculosis (TB) after 2015. The target strategies aim to reduce TB deaths by 95% and reduce the number of TB cases by 90% by 2035.
Another theme of interest to watch is reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. WHA will vote to adopt a plan put forward by the WHO, called Every Newborn Action Plan. ENAP targets include preventing the nearly 3 million reported deaths of new born babies every year and almost 300,000 deaths of women due to pregnancy and childbirth complications.
See the provisional agenda for a detailed list of events and themes that will take place during the WHA. You can also follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #wha67 and by following the WHO’s media center.