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Accelerating the achievement of MDG 5: Addressing inequity in maternal and neonatal health
( 2010-06-15 )
Abstract

Improving maternal and neonatal health continues to be the major challenge for many countries in the WHO South-East Asia (SEA) Region. Overcoming the challenge would require an effective and efficient health-care system that allows all women to plan for their pregnancy and to get skilled care during antenatal, childbirth and postnatal periods, as well as neonatal care, and that these are backed up by referral services. Providing such healthcare services is an important element of implementing human rights that governments are obliged to provide for all their citizens without discrimination. Countries in the SEA Region contribute to about 27% of the global population; however, they contribute to approximately 33% of the global maternal and neonatal deaths. In absolute numbers, the Region contributed to more than 170 000 maternal deaths, 1 million still-births and more than 1.3 million neonatal deaths in 2008. The health inequities across and within countries are the major issues in the Region. The attached paper highlights the inequities among and within countries in accessing skilled care at birth and in utilization of modern family planning methods. Among the causes of inequity in maternal and neonatal health (MNH) care, a few of the key issues that are emphasized are: (i) inadequate commitment and low budget allocation for the MNH programme at national and subnational levels; (ii) social and cultural barriers in accessing MNH care; and (iii) inadequate quality of MNH care. The recommendations proposed to address the inequities in MNH care are: (i) strengthen commitment and ensure adequate budget allocation for the MNH programme; (ii) improve leadership and management of the MNH programme at all levels; (iii) ensure women and community empowerment for MNH care and community-based actions; (iv) forge multisectoral collaboration/partnership in achieving universal access for MNH/reproductive health; and (v) facilitate exchange of information and experience within and among countries. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/13) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Strategic framework on healthy ageing in the Region
( 2010-06-22 )
Abstract

The working paper provides a brief overview of the situation with regard to healthy ageing in the Member States of the WHO South-East Asia (SEA) Region. It indicates the gradual increase in the proportion of population aged 60 years and more in most countries of the Region, and how this increase will affect the social and health services in Member States. The working paper then mentions the general features and components of the regional strategic framework on healthy ageing in the Region. It concludes by identifying a range of supportive actions from Member States with regard to healthy ageing in the Region: to increase political commitment for the promotion of healthy ageing; to develop or review the current interventions addressing the ageing issue and relate this to the regional strategic framework on healthy ageing; to scale up activities for establishing a national policy on ageing; to strengthen the existing national authority responsible for extending support to healthy ageing; and to continue to support the existing mechanisms for collaboration with other sectors of the government and interested stakeholders involved in healthy ageing-related interventions. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/12) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Technical discussions: selection of a subject for the technical discussions to be held prior to the sixty-fourth session of the regional committee
( 2010-06-15 )
Abstract

The attached document SEA/RC63/7 lists the subjects of the Technical Discussions held since 1998 in conjunction with the respective sessions of the Regional Committee. It also provides a list of proposed subjects for the Technical Discussions to be held prior to the Sixty-fourth session of the Regional Committee in 2011. The High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting is requested to review the proposed subjects for the Technical Discussions and select an appropriate subject to be recommended to the Regional Committee for its consideration at its Sixty-third Session.

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Governing bodies : key issues and challenges arising out of the sixty-third World Health Assembly and the 126th and 127th sessions of the WHO Executive Board
( 2010-06-24 )
Abstract

The attached working paper highlights the most significant and relevant decisions and resolutions emanating from the Sixty-third World Health Assembly (held from 17-21 May 2010) as well as the 126th and 127th sessions of the Executive Board (held from 18-23 January 2010 and on 22 May 2010 respectively). These decisions and resolutions are particularly relevant to the Member States of the WHO South-East Asia (SEA) Region, have obvious and immediate implications for them, and would merit follow-up action by both Member States as well as WHO at the Regional Office and country office levels. The background of the selected decisions/resolutions, highlights from the main operative paragraphs of these selected decisions/resolutions, as well as the regional implications of each decision and/or resolution, as applicable, and actions proposed for Member States and WHO have been presented. The attached working paper (SEA/RC63/14) is submitted for consideration by the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting, with particular reference to the regional implications and actions proposed to be taken towards implementation of the recommendations contained in the selected decisions/resolutions. The HLP meeting may wish to consider the decisions/resolutions as relevant (details of these resolutions are provided in the annex to this paper). The views and recommendations of the HLP meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for review and noting, as appropriate.

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Prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance
( 2010-06-15 )
Abstract

During the past six decades antimicrobial agents have played a critical role in reducing the burden of communicable diseases all over the world. The emergence of resistance and its rapid spread is negating the impact of these drugs, obstructing progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for HIV, TB and malaria and hindering effective application of modern technologies in mitigating human misery. While appearance of resistance is a continuous phenomenon in microorganism, its amplification and spread is through an array of practices conducted by human beings. Improper utilization of antimicrobial agents especially in high disease-burden settings and for non-therapeutic use as in the veterinary sector result in strong selection pressure that allows the resistant strain to grow and rapidly replace the susceptible isolates. Diseases due to resistant organisms take longer to heal, require expensive and at times toxic drugs for longer periods, often making the disease untreatable. The resistant organisms can also move across countries through travel and trade. In that sense, antimicrobial resistance is a global challenge requiring concerted efforts at national and international levels to preserve the available antimicrobial agents. This is possible through treatment policies such as combination therapy, rational prescription, patient adherence, strong regulatory mechanism and educational activities, along with an efficient surveillance system that monitors the emergence and spread of resistance, as well as the utilization of antimicrobial agents. To facilitate this activity at country level, WHO has developed a strategy that is simple, practical and easy to scale-up. The regional strategy aims to give particular attention to interventions involving the introduction of legislation and policies governing the use of antimicrobial agents, establishing laboratory-based networks for surveillance of resistance and ensuring the rational use of these drugs at all levels of health-care settings. The effective implementation of this strategy by various national disease control programmes will lead to reduction in the morbidity and mortality due to antimicrobial-resistant infection, and preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents in the treatment and prevention of microbial infections. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/11) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Coordinated approach to prevention and control of acute diarrhoea and respiratory infections
( 2010-06-15 )
Abstract

Acute diarrhoea and respiratory infections are high-burden diseases in the South-East Asia Region of WHO. Dedicated programmes for both during the 1980s and ’90s were successful in reducing mortality among the under-5 population. But, despite these programmes, high morbidity persisted. Furthermore, with no focus in recent years, they have continued to lead the causes of under-5 deaths in the Region and also globally. This has been the main impediment in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 in the Region. Simple, safe, effective and yet relatively inexpensive interventions have been available for at least three decades but the underlying cause for the high burden appears to be poor access to and utilization of available services aimed at reducing mortality. Almost complete lack of focus on preventive interventions and overlooking the burden in other age groups appear to be the main reasons for the persistence of high morbidity from these diseases. There is now a need to design and launch national programmes that encompass all age groups and integrate universal access to quality care with preventive interventions. These interventions need to be well coordinated and supported by strong advocacy, community mobilization and empowerment, training, research, monitoring and evaluation, and mobilization of national and international responses. WHO’s role should be to support Member States both technically and in mobilizing international response, including resources. This working paper presents an outline of such a programme for the Region. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/10) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Development of national health plans and strategies
( 2010-06-27 )
Abstract

National health plans and strategies have been placed at the centre on WHO’s support to countries by the high-level Global Policy Group on which the Regional Director represents the South-East Asia Region. Countries have been developing national health plans for sometime now and WHO has a history in supporting this process in countries as well. The renewed interest in reviewing national health plans is a result of the increasing complexity in which these are formulated and implemented in, particularly with respect to the significant health impact of activities in sectors other than health. The Global Policy Group recommended to develop a Framework for National Health Policies, Strategies and Plans that is comprehensive with respect to consolidating both health sector sub-plans (e.g. intervention specific plans) and multi-sector health activities (e.g. issues like climate change) as well as consistent with overall medium-term expenditure and development plans and goals, especially the MDGs. Further, a tool kit to support this Framework is being finalized. In collaboration with all levels of the Organization, WHO will then initiate capacity building of WHO Country Office staff with the possibility of including country officials as agreed. This activity will start in September 2010 with countries that are to review national health plans in the next 12-18 months. In line with the Global Policy Group’s decision, the Regional Office has developed summary guidelines for assessing gaps in current national health plans in Member States. Detailed assessments in six countries have been carried out and findings shall be discussed at a regional consultation in August 2010 with the specific objective of agreeing on country needs and WHO’s role in addressing these as well as finalizing the Framework from a Regional perspective. The Framework will be presented to the 128th Executive Board in January 2011 for discussion and submission to the 64th World Health Assembly. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/9) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Strategic planning for development of human resources for health in the Region
( 2010-06-24 )
Abstract

Due to the growing burden of chronic diseases during the last two decades which require a continuum of care, especially community-based care, new pressures have emerged on the health workforce in Member States of the South-East Asia Region. All SEAR Member States face several common health-workforce-related problems and issues, which led the Regional Office to develop a strategic plan for health workforce development. This Regional Strategic Plan for Health Workforce Development in SEAR identified 10 strategic areas which mainly included scaling up health workforce production, knowledge generation and management and capacity building on health workforce management. The Member States have been encouraged to develop their own strategic plans for which technical support is being provided to plan their health workforce strategies and strengthen regional and national training capacities. Regional partnerships and networks have been established. Regional health workforce information has been strengthened through the development of a Regional HRH Observatory with HWF database. The issue of international migration of health workforce is being addressed. In addition teaching of public health and community-based health workforce is also being strengthened in SEAR Member States. Tangible results have been achieved through strategic planning for development of human resources for health in the Region. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/8) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Follow-up action on pending issues and selected regional committee resolutions/decisions for the last three years : collaboration within the un system and with other international agencies and partnerships
( 2010-06-15 )
Abstract

The recognition of health as a key element for sustainable development and global security has resulted in a substantial increase in global resources for health in recent years. At the same time, the diversity and number of health actors have also increased significantly, with private and non-state actors contributing significant resources to development assistance for health. With this proliferation of actors in health, WHO, particularly at country level must coordinate its work, through effective partnerships, not only with government authorities but also with other United Nations (UN) agencies, donors, and civil society organizations, in order to ensure alignment of health strategies and goals and improve health development outcomes at country level. The attached paper provides an overview of WHO’s collaboration within the UN system and with other international agencies and partnerships over the last year. It reflects the Organization’s commitment to UN reform, as well as its efforts in collaborating with a diverse and complementary array of partners to enhance the effectiveness of the global health community in accelerating the achievement of the internationally-agreed health development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/16) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.

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Follow-up action on pending issues and selected Regional Committee resolutions/decisions for the last three years : Scaling up prevention and control of chronic noncommunicable diseases in the South-East Asia Region (SEA/RC60/R4)
( 2010-06-15 )
Abstract

WHO action in the area of prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the South-East Asia (SEA) Region is guided by the Regional Framework for Prevention and Control of NCDs. The Framework was formulated in close collaboration with Member States and endorsed by the health secretaries of Member States of the Region at their 11th Meeting in 2006. The WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia, vide its resolution on Scaling up Prevention and Control of Chronic Noncommunicable Disease (NCDs) in the South-East Asia Region (SEA/RC60/R4) further deliberated on and endorsed the Regional Framework and requested the Regional Director to report to the Sixty-third session of the Regional Committee in 2010 on the progress achieved in its implementation. The Regional Framework aims at facilitating the process of developing, updating and implementing national policies, plans and programmes for integrated prevention and control of major NCDs including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic pulmonary diseases and diabetes. It is based on public health principles and on national, regional and global consensus on policy and technical actions for prevention and control of NCDs and their primary risk factors. The attached working paper reflects on the health and socio-economic impact of NCDs in the Region. It reports on actions taken by Member States and by the WHO Secretariat, since the adoption of the Framework, to scale up prevention and control of NCDs. The attached working paper (Doc. SEA/RC63/20) is submitted to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP Meeting will be submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.