Annual meeting of WHO’s regional committee for Europe (11-14 Sept 2017 in Budapest)

In this annual meeting, health ministers and delegates of the European countries worked on the implementation of WHO decisions in European countries. The WSO participated together with other non-governmental organisations in order to increase visibility and awareness of stroke.

The WHO is working on several levels to prevent NCDs including stroke:
-        Global Action Plan on NCDs  2013-2020 which provides a road map and 9 voluntary global targets, including a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025
-        The global HEARTS initiative, directed at heart disease and stroke ; this WHO initiative provides UN-members states with high-impact, evidence-based interventions that will have a major impact on improving global heart health
-        WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which still needs ratification by several countries before going into action
-        Reduce excessive consumption of salt (see the SHAKE program here)
-        The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018 – 2030 (for the draft, see here)
-        Control of the excessive consumption free sugar by taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages
-        Control of the worldwide obesity epidemic, starting in childhood

WSO and ESO were represented at this meeting by Patrik Michel from Lausanne. He read a joint statement of WSO and ESO on the worldwide importance of stroke which can be found in the attachement, with a video recording here.

Prof P. Michel addressing the 67th regional conference of WHO-Europe 2017in Budapest
During the conference, the new Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros (Ethiopia) emphasized his goal of investing in prevention and universal health coverage as the essentials for better health, also in Europe. For NCDs, he underlined that the solutions are known and available, and that the governments need to keep fighting on a national and international level to implement these against multiple resistances (industry interest, lack of finances, etc.). Dr Tedros is also accelerating the pace with which WHO decisions are made in order to react better to foreseeable and unforeseen health risks and diseases.

Dr Tedros (Director General of WHO) adressing the 67th regional conference of WHO-Europe 2017 in Budapest
The director of the WHO-European region, Mrs Z. Jakab, emphasized that, despite the increasing « healthy life expectancy » in Europe, substantial inequalities persist between countries.

The other « hot topics » discussed during the conference were :
-        Insufficient investment in public health and prevention, despite proof of high returns à currently, only 3% of health budgets in Europe are invested in public health
-        Increasing epidemic of dementia, addressed by the recently adopted WHO Global Action Plan on Dementia 2017-2025) 
-        Access to health services
o   Universal Health coverage problematic also within Europe (à avoid large out-of-pocket expenses for services)
o   Access to medicines : faire pricing (hepatitis drugs, oncology), continuous supply of essential medicines and more
-        Communicable diseases
o   Antibiotics resistance, Tb-resistance (Eastern European countries)
o   Remerging infections from insufficient vaccination (measles epidemic etc.)

Dr Tedros (WHO) with Prof Michel (WSO)

Upcoming international conferences concerning NCDs including :
WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 18–20th, 2017  (for details see here
Global NCD Alliance Forum 2017, Sharjah, UAE, December 9-11, 2017  (for details see here

3rd High-level UN meeting on NCDs in New York in the fall 2018  (for details see here

Annual meeting of WHO’s regional committee for Europe (11-14 Sept 2017 in Budapest) Reviewed by Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins on Monday, September 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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