Magazine article UN Chronicle

World Health Assembly Appeals for More Aid to Health Strategies of Developing Countries

Magazine article UN Chronicle

World Health Assembly Appeals for More Aid to Health Strategies of Developing Countries

Article excerpt

World Health Assembly appeals for more aid to health strategies of developing countries

The World Health Assembly at its thirty-ninth session (Geneva, 5-16 May) called for action to improve health strategies of developing countries and to combat drug abuse, tobacco use and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) eqidemic.

Delegates representing most of the 166 member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed support for the WHO "Global Strategy for Health for All by the Year 2000' and appealed to developed countries and international organizations and agencies to assist developing countries with their national

health strategies.

The appeal, contained in a resolution adopted on 15 May, was made in view of the "widespread economic crisis which had resulted in a fall in living standards in many countries and provoked serious unemployment and formidable austerity policies', which in some countries resulted in substantial cuts in health care. The crisis, particularly in developing countries, had been aggravated by the persistent rise in the foreign debt and deterioration of the balances of trade', and endangered the possibility of reaching the goal of health for all by the year 2000.

Among the other resolutions adopted at the two-week session was one urging continued collaboration by WHO members to control AIDS. WHO was asked to co-operate with countries to study the problem and set up national and collective programmes to prevent and control of the disease.

Tobacco smoking and tobacco use in all forms was incompatible with the attainment of health for all by the year 2000, and Assembly declared, calling for a global public health approach and action to combat the tobacco pandemic. Other United Nations organizations were asked to support WHO in all ways possible within their fields of competence to help stem the spread of tobacco-induced diseases by protecting the health of non-smokers on their premises. The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Halfdan Mahler, was asked to ensure that WHO played an effective global advocacy role with regard to tobacco and health issues.

In response to the dramatic increase of serious health and social problems related to the abuse of narcotic and psychotropic substances, the Assembly urged member States to further develop national prevention and treatment programmes. WHO was asked to formulate a plan of action aimed at controlling health problems related to drug abuse, and it was suggested that the United Nations increase financial support in that area.

The Assembly endorsed the "Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women', adopted in 1985 in Nairobi, stating they provided a comprehensive policy framework for advancing the status of women to the year 2000', and deciding that WHO should take all appropriate measures with other United Nations organizations to implement the Strategies.

The Assembly noted that, though many member States had made substantial efforts to implement the 1981 World Health Assembly's International Code on the Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, concerted efforts would continue to be needed to achieve full implementation. Member States were urged to implement the code if they had not done so.

The Assembly said that peace and security were important for preserving and improving the health of all people and that co-operation among nations on vital health issues could contribute significantly to peace.

The WHO Director-General was asked to set up an expert working group to examine the scientific and health effects of alcohol as an ingredient of some medicines and the implications of its possible reduction or elimination.

WHO was asked to continue to provide countries which were targets of destabilization by South Africa with technical co-operation in the health field, to rehabilitate their damaged health infrastructures.

The WHO Director-General was asked to help Palestinians promote primary health care inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories, by developing adequate health and social services and training additional health personnel. …

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