World Health Assembly Passes Resolutions

Among the resolutions passed at the gathering of delegates for the World Health Assembly on May 25, the most critical to the development of sustainable health for nations involved were resolutions that focused on the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance and low immunization rates.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) marked its sixty-eighth year last month, May 2015, with an annual meeting, lasting nine days in Geneva, Switzerland. Whilst a number of important pieces on global health were shared, WHA attendees from 194 member states also determined what should be done to advance the global health agenda.

WHA attendees agreed on resolutions that focused on microorganisms’ growing resistance to antimicrobial drugs as well as antibiotic resistance around the world, which jeopardize healthcare providers’ ability to effectively treat infectious diseases. As a result, a part of the resolutions drafted included a plan of action for member states, which they could utilize to combat this growing threat.

The World Health Organization outlined the five objectives of this plan:

  1. Improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance;
  2. Strengthen surveillance and research;
  3. Reduce the incidence of infection;
  4. Optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines;
  5. Ensure sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance.

WHA delegates encouraged the adopting member states to customize and enact this global plan by May 2017.

Additionally, there were also resolutions passed in regards to scaling up immunizations in low and middle income countries, which tend to suffer some of the highest immunization costs.

Though the WHA enacted the Global Vaccine Action Plan in 2012, due to extremely slow and irregular progress, the World Health Organization states that the “resolution calls on WHO to coordinate efforts to address gaps in progress. It urges Member States to increase transparency around vaccine pricing and explore pooling the procurement of vaccines.”

Not only will decreasing the costs of vaccines potentially shape the way nations deal with health crises, it will also save thousands, if not millions, of lives. This effort will drastically reduce the number of deaths among children and greatly improve their ability to fight infections, both minor and life threatening.
In an effort to bring better vaccination programs to low and middle income countries, the WHA secretariat, met with representatives of participating countries to discuss what could be done to improve vaccination accessibility.

Both antimicrobial resistance and suitable access to vaccinations are issues that every nation must contend with, as they represent a threat to the health and safety of citizens everywhere. Combating a problem begins with awareness, and hopefully, we will see more development in awareness campaigns regarding these important global health issues in the coming months.

– Candice Hughes

Sources: International Business Times, The New York Times World Health Organization World Health Organization
Photo: Flickr