Delegates at the World Health Assembly approved a record number of recommendations relating to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancers, diabetes, heart and lung diseases, as well as to mental health, and their risk factors.
The move comes ahead of the fourth United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on the prevention and control of NCDs to be held in 2025, in a drive to accelerate progress towards globally agreed NCD and SDG targets.
In addition to an agreed preparatory process in the lead-up to this meeting, measures to reduce deaths from NCDs include a new implementation roadmap. The roadmap aims to help Member States speed up action to support their populations and achieve the NCD-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Also agreed was a new action plan for the Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, a platform which brings together key stakeholders working to improve the NCD landscape, by strengthening multi-sector and multi-stakeholder action and collaboration to address NCDs and mental health.
Delegates agreed to amend the International Health Regulations (IHR) to reduce the time of entry into force of any future amendments from 24 to 12 months. A comprehensive process for addressing future amendments to the IHR was agreed earlier in the week.
Delegates today requested that the Director-General consult with Member States and Observers on proposed ways forward for the implementation of WHO’s report on a new Global Health for Peace Initiative. The Initiative would aim to build on and develop new partnerships that drive forward the triple billion goals in conflict and/or fragile areas.
Suggested approaches include:
- WHO programmes achieving both health and peace dividends at the country level by mainstreaming the Health for Peace approach;
- Member States engaging in the Health for Peace Initiative through support or implementation; and
- WHO driving the Health for Peace agenda at both the operational and normative levels.
The World Health Assembly also requested a roadmap, to be developed in full consultation with Member States, Observers, other United Nations agencies and relevant non-State actors in official relations with WHO. This roadmap will be put forward for consideration next year by the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly through the 152nd session of the Executive Board.
Delegates agreed to adopt the Working for Health Action Plan (2022-2030). The Action Plan, which was developed through a Member State-led process, sets out policy priorities to rapidly progress workforce capacity across three dimensions: planning and finance, education and employment, and protection and performance.
The protection of the workforce, a rising concern in all settings, is supported by the consensus for a Global health and care worker compact which sets out how to protect and safeguard the rights of health and care workers, in addition to promoting and ensuring decent working conditions.
The resolution recognizes the global progress to address health workforce shortages since 2016. WHO reports that the global shortfall has reduced to 15 million in 2020 and is projected to drop to 10 million by 2030. However, gains have not accrued equally across regions, limiting access to health services for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. WHO continues to urge all Member States to apply the precautionary principle before international recruitment of health workers from countries with severe workforce shortages.
A75/12 Human resources for health: Working for Health: draft –2030 action plan.
A75/13 Human resources for health: Global health and care worker compact
A75/14 Human resources for health: WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel: fourth round of national reporting
A75/15 Human resources for health: Global strategy on human resources for health: workforce 2030
Delegates also agreed an action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol as a public health priority.
The pace of development and implementation of alcohol policies has been uneven in WHO regions and countries. Since its endorsement 10 years ago, the resources and capacities for implementation of the WHO Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol have been inadequate to address the magnitude of the problem. As a result every 10 seconds a person dies from alcohol related harm.
The alcohol action plan proposes operational objectives and principles, key action areas for Member States, WHO Secretariat, international partners, CSOs and academia, as well as proposed measures for economic operators in alcohol production and trade. It contains a set of global targets, indicators and milestones for monitoring progress.