The 65th World Health Assembly concluded Saturday May 26 2012 after adopting 21 resolutions and three decisions on a broad range of health issues. The six days of discussions involved nearly 3 000 delegates, including health ministers and senior health officials from amongst the 194 World Health Organisation (WHO) member states.
The agenda covered some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing public health today.
“As challenges, let me mention non-communicable diseases and ageing, maternal and child health, under and over-nutrition, the eradication of polio and health demands during humanitarian emergencies,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general.
“Public health should be one of the top priorities in our development projects, because without health, no development is possible,” says Professor Thérèse N’Dri-Yoman, minister of Health of Côte d’Ivoire and the elected President of the Health Assembly.
Delegates expressed broad acceptance of the proposed five categories: communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, health through the life-course, health systems, preparedness, surveillance and response.
The following are excerpts from the resolutions and decisions made in regard to public health advocacy.
Early marriages and young pregnancies
More than 30% of girls in developing countries are married before the age of 18, and 14% before the age of 15. Raising awareness of early marriage and adolescent pregnancy and its consequences for young women and their infants will help reduce infant mortality.
The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health presented 10 recommendations to improve accountability in countries and globally. The focus is on the 75 countries which together account for more than 95% of all maternal and child deaths in the world.
Delegates approved the development of a global monitoring framework for the prevention and control of NCDs and a global 25% reduction of premature mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases by 2025.
Another resolution focuses on policies to promote active ageing. We must encourage the active participation of older people in society, increase healthy ageing and promote the highest standard of health and well-being for older persons.
New resolve to prevent premature deaths and to reduce exposure to risk factors for NCDs, mainly tobacco use, use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products International cooperation must improve identifying substandard, spurious, falsely-labelled, falsified or counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products. Many countries stressed the need for strengthening regulatory authorities and the critically important role that WHO plays in enhancing regional and international networking among the regulators.
Emerging channels of distribution such as Internet sales pose a significant threat and require specific solutions in many emerging countries.
The overall health and wellbeing of a country is primarily determined by six critical areas:
Strengthening of health systems
Prevention and control
Food safety initiatives
Climate change and health
Partnerships and multi-lingualism.
The World Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland and is the decision-making body of the WHO. Special focus is now being placed on the prevention of lifestyle related disease. The cost associated with preventable disease impacts not only the individual but also their family, their community, their nation and the world.
Proactive steps and application of natural healthcare recommendations such as proper diet, exercise, stress management and risk factor reduction will play an integral part preventing and reversing health conditions that plague our society today. Sickness or illness often develops silently and only presents symptoms when the condition is well advanced.
Do not wait to get sick – control and improve your choices today!
Visit the World Health Organisation’s website: www.who.int
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