WHA Adopts Three Health Strategies

WHA Adopts Three Health StrategiesWHA Adopts Three Health Strategies

The World Health Assembly (WHA) which concluded its 69th session on May 28 in Geneva, adopted three global health sector strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), for the period 2016-2021.

The targets of the integrated strategies targets are aligned with those laid out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategies outline actions to be taken by countries and by the World Health Organization secretariat. Each aims to accelerate and intensify the health sector response to further progress towards ending all three epidemics, the WHO website said.

The HIV strategy aims to further accelerate the expansion of access to antiretroviral therapy to all people living with HIV as well as the further scale-up of prevention and testing to reach interim targets: since 2000, it has been estimated that as many as 7.8 million HIV-related deaths and 30 million new HIV infections have been averted. By 2020 the strategy aims to reduce global HIV-related deaths to below 500,000, to reduce new HIV infections to below 500,000 and to ensure zero new infections among infants.

The hepatitis strategy – the first of its kind - introduces the first-ever global targets for viral hepatitis. These include a 30% reduction in new cases of hepatitis B and C by 2020 and a 10% reduction in mortality. Key approaches will be to expand vaccination programs for hepatitis A,B, and E; focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B; improve injection, blood and surgical safety; “harm reduction” for people who inject drugs; and increase access to treatment for hepatitis B and C.

The STI strategy specifically emphasizes the need to scale up prevention, screening and surveillance, in particular for adolescents and other at-risk populations, as well as the need to control the spread and impact of drug resistance. Although diagnostic tests for STIs are widely used in high-income countries, in low and middle-income countries, diagnostic tests are largely unavailable.

Resistance of STIs to antibiotics has increased rapidly in recent years and has reduced treatment options. More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide. Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.