World Health Assembly, day 4: proposals on coordination of noncommunicable disease response

The World Health Assembly approved proposals to improve global coordination of efforts to address noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, cancers, heart disease and stroke. It also approved a resolution to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis.

Highlights for the European Region

  • At a meeting with the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Moldova, Mr Andrei Usatîi, described progress made in his country on increasing the quality of health services and on tobacco legislation. The Minister said that integrating services into decentralizing primary health care was a challenge. He thanked the Regional Office for its support and for expert missions on issues including noncommunicable diseases, health systems, health information, telemedicine and communicable diseases.
  • Dr Anvar Valiyevich Alimov, Minister of Health, and Mr Asilbek Khudayarov, First Deputy Minister of Health, of Uzbekistan, discussed an upcoming high-level meeting on health, nutrition and food safety with Ms Jakab.  They also discussed a sub-regional meeting on Health 2020 to be held in the autumn. The Regional Director suggested that the Michael Marmot study be presented  for introduction in other central Asian countries.
  • The Regional Director met with delegates from the Russian Federation at a bilateral meeting to discuss the tuberculosis epidemic in that country and ways of improving harm reduction. They also discussed the next steps in establishing the geographically dispersed office of the Regional Office on noncommunicable diseases in the Russian Federation .
  • The Consultative Expert Working Group met in Committee B to discuss health systems on the basis of two key reports and an addendum.  They requested more analytical and operational guidance for finance mechanisms and exploration of alternative models for financing. The group also called for better country ownership, more demonstration projects, extension to other diseases, development of new indicators and greater inclusion of discussions on health systems. On behalf of all 53 Member States in the European Region, Finland expressed its commitment to the vision of Working Group and acknowledged the substantial work done by WHO in that regard.
  • The delegate of Finland emphasized that women's and children's nutrition remained a high priority and that the issue of good-quality nutrition overlapped with those of climate change and food security.

Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, hosted a side event with the Independent Expert Review Group. Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, opened the meeting. She summarized the history of the Review Group, which was receiving increasing numbers of calls for accountability. She stressed that the mechanism by which that could be achieved was strengthening health information systems.

Mr Horton said that the goal of the global strategy was to save 16 million lives by 2015 and described the steps to be taken. The Review Group would welcome feedback on what they had achieved and on the remaining challenges. Presentations were given by delegates of Malawi, Peru and the United Republic of Tanzania, outlining progress made on responding to the recommendations of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health.