The World Health Organization's Executive Board (EB117), which met from 23-28 January 2006, has recommended four resolutions which fall under the responsibility of Noncommunicable diseases and Mental Health. They will be presented to the World Health Assembly, WHA59, for consideration in May, 2006.
EB117/R2: Nutrition and HIV/AIDS
:: EB117/R3: Sickle-cell anaemia
:: EB117/R4: Prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment (with draft resolution)
:: EB117/R9: Health promotion in a globalized world
As well as the following relevant progress report:
:: EB117/29: Implementation of resolutions: progress reports, A: Infant and young child nutrition (resolution WHA58.32)
EB117/R2: Nutrition and HIV/AIDS
Resolution WHA57.14 urged Member States, as a matter of priority, to pursue policies and practices that promote the integration of nutrition into a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS. Subsequently, WHO Secretariat and other UN and non-governmental organizations held a technical consultation on nutrition and HIV/AIDS in Africa (Durban, South Africa, 10-13 April 2005) which concluded with a range of recommendations. The recommendations were based on the main findings of a detailed review of the latest scientific evidence on the macronutrient and micronutrient needs of HIV-infected people, including pregnant and lactating women and patients receiving antiretroviral therapy.
This resolution to the WHA URGES Member States to make nutrition an integral part of their response to HIV/AIDS by identifying nutrition interventions for immediate integration into HIV/AIDS programming. This includes strengthening political commitment to nutrition and HIV/AIDS as part of their health agenda and reinforcing nutrition components in HIV/AIDS policies and programmes and incorporating HIV/AIDS issues in national nutrition policies and programmes. It also calls for Member States and WHO to strengthen, revise or establish new guidelines and assessment tools for nutrition care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS.
- Report by the secretariat
- Nutrition and HIV/AIDS
EB117/R3: Sickle-cell anaemia
Sickle-cell anaemia is a common genetic condition due to inheritance of mutant haemoglobin genes from both parents. About 5% of the world’s population carries the genes, and each year about 300 000 infants are born with major haemoglobin disorders. In some areas of sub-Saharan Africa, up to 2% of all children are born with the condition. Sickle-cell anaemia is particularly common among people whose ancestors come from sub-Saharan Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and Mediterranean countries.
The public health implications of sickle-cell anaemia are clear, as it causes either death or disability. It can lead to a serious risk of death before the age of seven years from a sudden profound anaemia, while most affected people have chronic anaemia and may also suffer recurrent and unpredictable severe painful crises.
Sickle cell anaemia can be prevented and managed, although in many countries where it is prevalent the response has been inadequate. The report recommends early intervention, improved treatment and management, as well as improved education and testing for genetic risk before marriage or pregnancy.
The Executive Board recommends a resolution to the WHA59 which urges URGES Member States to develop, implement and reinforce national, integrated programmes for the prevention and management of sickle-cell anaemia aimed at reducing the incidence, morbidity and mortality associated with this genetic disease. It also requests WHO to work to increase awareness of sickle cell anaemia and to support Member States with technical guidance and encourage ongoing research.
- Report of the secretariat
- Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion
EB117/R4: Prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment
According to the most recent (2002) estimates, more than 161 million people were visually impaired, of whom 124 million people had low vision and 37 million were blind, with up to 75% being avoidable. Given projected demographic changes and population growth, the incidence of chronic, noncommunicable diseases affecting eyesight is expected to increase.
Blindness and severe visual impairment have a significant impact on the socioeconomic development of individuals and societies. Prevention of avoidable visual impairment leads to substantial long-term savings in health-care and social expenditures.
The Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness, known as Vision 2020 – the Right to Sight, was launched in 1999 as a partnership between WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness to eliminate causes of avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and to halt and reverse the projected doubling of avoidable visual impairment in the world between 1990 and 2020. Resolution WHA56.26 urged Member States to commit themselves specifically to setting up national Vision 2020 plans not later than 2005 and to begin implementation of these plans by 2007.
This EB resolution requests Member States and WHO Secretariat, inter alia, to reinforce efforts to set up national Vision 2020 plans as called for in resolution WHA56.26 and to provide support for Vision 2020 plans by sustaining necessary funding at the national level.
- Report of the secretariat
- Vision 2020
EB117/R9: Health promotion in a globalized world
Health promotion is a cornerstone of primary health care and a core function of public health. It is both effective and cost-effective in reducing the burden of disease and in reducing the social and economic impact of diseases.
The 6th Global Conference on Health Promotion, entitled “Policy and partnership for action: addressing the determinants of health” held in Bangkok, 7-11 August 2005, was convened by WHO and the Government of Thailand with a view to contributing to reduction of health inequality in a globalized world through health promotion. The main outcome of the Conference was the adoption by participants of the Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World, together with consensus among participants on future directions for health promotion.
This resolution from the EB recommends to Member States to consider the need for increased investment in health promotion as an essential component of equitable social and economic development, to establish mechanisms for involving government and fostering the active engagement of civil society, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations in health promotion. WHO Secretariat is asked to strengthen capacity for health promotion across the Organization in order to provide better support to Member States, and to optimize use of existing forums of Member States for multisectoral stakeholders, interested organizations and other bodies in order to support the development and implementation of health promotion, and to report on the need for new forums or bodies to encourage health promotion.
- Report of the secretariat
- The Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World
- Health Promotion
- Department of Chronic diseases and Health Promotion
EB117/29: Implementation of resolutions: progress reports, A: Infant and young child nutrition (resolution WHA58.32)
Following the resolution WHA58.32 and in line with the Global strategy for infant and young child feeding, WHO continues to promote infant and young child feeding as a critical intervention for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, those relating to eradication of extreme poverty and hunger and to reduction of child mortality. In fact, The importance of exclusive breastfeeding in reducing infant mortality has been strengthened by new evidence from several countries, and a recent trial indicated that community-based counselling on breastfeeding can be effective in improving feeding practices and health outcomes.
This progress report notes several WHO initiatives which are strengthening work to promote infant and young child nutrition, including: support for research on feeding infants of HIV-positive mothers; preparing guidance on adapting complementary feeding to national needs; and new infant and child growth standards to be released in 2006 resulting from the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study. Additionally, the report updates on substantive progress in WHO regional offices. For example, the Regional Office for Africa organized four intercountry planning meetings and provided support for training-of-trainer courses on infant feeding counselling in 19 countries. By the end of 2004, over 250 trainers and 2000 health workers had benefited.
EB117/29: Impleentation of resolutions: progress reports, A: Infant and young child nutrition (resolution WHA58.32) [pdf 51kb]
- Promoting infant and young child feeding
- Department of Nutrition for Health and Development