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World Health Assembly calls for global action plan on epilepsy

While we were busy developing sourdough starters, establishing victory gardens, cancelling vacation plans and generally going stir crazy, the World Health Assembly gathered and took a moment to address the global impact epilepsy is having on the health of people around the world.

WHA73

At the 73th Session of the World Health Assembly, Member States endorsed a resolution calling for scaled-up global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders. This resolution asks that a plan be developed for consideration at the 75th Session of the World Health Assembly.

The Committee also recommended the adoption of a resolution calling for scaled-up and integrated action on epilepsy and other neurological disorders such as stroke, migraine and dementia. Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Developing a global action plan

The WHA Member States suggested that much of the neurological disease burden is preventable, provided that broad public health responses in maternal and newborn health care, communicable disease control, injury prevention and cardiovascular health, are implemented. Challenges and gaps in providing care and services for people with neurological disorders exist worldwide, and more so in low- and middle-income countries.

Important takeaways

  • Epilepsy and other neurological disorders are the leading cause of disablity-adjusted life years
  • Epilepsy and other neurological disorders are the second leading cause of death worldwide
  • Despite the low cost of effective interventions for epilepsy (estimated at less than US$ 5/per person/year), the current treatment gap is over 75% in most low-income countries and 50% in the majority of middle-income countries
  • The risk of premature death in people with epilepsy is three times higher than in the general population
  • Over the past 30 years, the absolute number of deaths due to neurological disorders has increased by 39%

REVIEW THE FULL RESOLUTION

The action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders will address these gaps through integration of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for neurological disorders within primary health care, which is critical to achieving universal health coverage.

 

 

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