Tag Archives: WHO

New landmark resolution on disability adopted at the 74th World Health Assembly

Opening of the 70th World Health Assembly, a very different look to #WHA74 due to COVID-19.

On May 27, 2021, under the heading of Departmental news, the World Health ¬†Organisation (WHO)¬†reported on a¬†new landmark resolution on disability adopted at the 74th World Health Assembly #WHA74.¬†This is very significant to people with dementia globally because¬†“dementia is a major cause of disability and dependence worldwide” (WHO).¬†

News release:

A new landmark Resolution EB148.R6 ‚ÄúThe highest attainable standard of health¬†for persons with disabilities‚ÄĚ was adopted by the 74th World Health Assembly. The resolution aims to make the health sector more inclusive by tackling the significant barriers many persons with disabilities face when they try to access health services.

These include:

  • Access to effective health services: persons with disabilities often experience barriers including physical barriers that prevent access to health facilities; informational barriers that prevent access to health information; and attitudinal barriers leading to discrimination which severely affects the rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Protection during health emergencies: persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic because they have not been considered in national health emergency preparedness and response plans.
  • Access to public health interventions across different sectors: public health interventions do not reach persons with disabilities because the information has not been provided in an accessible way and the specific needs and situation of persons with disabilities have not been reflected in the interventions.

The Resolution also aims to improve collection and disaggregation of reliable data on disability to inform health policies and programmes.

The resolution lists a range of actions to be taken by the WHO Secretariat including developing a report on the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities by the end of 2022; implementing the United Nations disability inclusion strategy across all levels of the organization; supporting the creation of a global research agenda on health and disability; and providing Member States with technical knowledge and capacity-building support necessary to incorporate a disability- inclusive approach in the health sector.

Launch of the 4th ADI From Plan To Impact Report


DAI’s CEO & co-founder Kate Swaffer was recently invited to be a panellist at the ADI Side Event for the launch of their 4th ‘From Plan To Impact Report’.

We introduce this blog-post with a reminder there continues to be a lack of equal access to the CRPD and other Conventions for all people with dementia.

Below is the transcript of Kate’s brief presentation and summary of the Side Event.

Kate Swaffer, World Health Assembly 2021
ADI Side Event, 26 May 2021

Thanks so much Paola and thank you once again for the invitation to join this panel at this important World Health Assembly Side Event which you are hosting. As always, I feel humbled to represent the more than 50 million people living with dementia globally.

It’s been really inspiring to hear from our colleagues around the world, and the progress that is being made, and also to have examples of such great leadership from Indonesia and the Asia Pacific, and in Kenya and Africa. I guess as always, my role is to be a bit of a Devil’s Advocate, and I wanted to highlight a number of issues that people with dementia particularly feel need to be considered in National Dementia Plans.

There continues to be lack of recognition in policy, and in post diagnostic support and services for dementia that it is a major cause of disability.

There continues to be a lack of access to disability assessment and support, referrals to rehabilitation after diagnosis, although it is great to know that the WHO are currently developing guidelines on rehabilitation for dementia.

There needs to be a focus on Rights in national plans, and a focus on stigma and discrimination because all of the time I have been involved in this space I have not seen any change in the prevalence of stigma and discrimination, anywhere in the world [nor does research or the multiple reports about these issues].

What is frustrating for me personally and for people with dementia that I talk to, is that ADI were talking about a rights-based focus for dementia as far back as their report in 2012 that I have read, and I made three calls to action at the WHO First Ministerial Conference on Dementia in 2015, which were about:

  1. That we have human right to a more ethical pathway of care, that
  2. we have access to the same human rights and disability rights as everyone else, under the Disability Discrimination Acts and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and
  3. that research does not only focus on a cure, but on our care, including rehabilitation.

So, in summary we don’t seem to have come too far with progress for people with dementia. We have made progress but as Paola and others, and Tarun have said, we are well behind the 2025 target, and less than 100 countries have national dementia plans

  • We have made progress, but we are well behind the 2025 target
  • > 100 countries still do not have National Dementia Plans [in fact, only 40 contries have National Dementia Plans]
  • We do need a Rights based focus is needed in all national dementia plans and policies [comment in chat box of someone also advocating for that]
  • We need strategies to support well-being and quality of life for people with dementia and our families
  • It is important we need to strengthen health systems; only today I was talking to someone in Adelaide Australia where I live whose mother suddenly needs a significant amount of in-home care, and there is none available for the next 12 months. I live in a rich country, and this is not really good enough!
  • There is a growing concern on the impact of dementia on women and girls
  • There are still very poor diagnosis rates and poor post-diagnostic care
  • I totally agree the focus on risk reduction as with all other chronic diseases is imperative, and needs to be included in national dementia plans
  • Dementia must continue to be seen as a priority and we must not let it be diluted due to the very necessary responses due to covid.
  • Still poor diagnosis rates and lack of post diagnostic care
  • Risk reduction, in line with other diseases, is increasingly important

Dementia must continue to be seen as a priority, and not be diluted due to the very necessary responses we have all had to implement due to the COVID-19 pandemic

I do have hope, but also feel as Gill Livingston has said, the time to act is now.

Thank you.

Footnote: Governments, Alzheimer’s organisations, health care professionals and service providers all around the world need to use the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to benefit people living with dementia, which was also highlighted in the 2012 WHO-ADI Report, Dementia: a public health priority.

Watch the ADI side event in full here:

World Mental Health Day October 10 Virtual Event

The 2020 WHO Mental Health Forum #12 took place online on October 8. It provided an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to get an overview of mental health aspects of COVID-19 and the challenges and opportunities it has brought to mental health, both globally and locally. COVID-19 has exposed the limitations of existing mental health systems and has made it clear that we cannot maintain the status quo. Our Chair represented DAI at this important forum.

The theme for the 2020 Mental Health Forum was the changing landscape of global mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This theme reflected the urgent need for action on mental health as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. At the forum, speakers discussed:

  • Global and¬†country-level actions by governments
  • civil¬†society and academia to respond to mental
  • neurological and substance use needs¬†during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advocates and policymakers across the globe showed that mental health can never be in the shadows and should be in the center of any emergency and post-emergency, recovery response. During the forum this year, we will review the progress in positioning mental health in COVID-19 response agenda and beyond. We learned about ongoing and new initiatives and discuss ways to enhance action in countries.

They also discussed a wide range of COVID-19 Mental Health products and actions developed and implemented by WHO and partners to support affected people. Speakers also discussed how WHO and inter-agency tools are supporting the implementation of mental health interventions in different age groups and across different settings, and how we can do better together.

The current pandemic has made evident that reliance on outdated mental health systems is no longer an option. Promising initiatives by countries and agencies have shown that it is feasible to make a difference through innovation during the most challenging times.

Following the forum, this invitation was received to get involved on World Mental Health Day:

Message sent on behalf of Ms Dévora Kestel, Director, WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use

Dear WHO Mental Health Forum 2020 Participant,

 

On World Mental Health Day, WHO will be hosting, for the first time, an online global advocacy event on mental health. Join WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, national and international leaders and celebrity guests to talk about what we can all do to improve our mental health and how we can help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it. During the 3-hour event, video features will be interspersed with personal testimonies and performances from celebrities and advocates from around the world.

 

How to get involved

 

 

 

Join our social media campaign 

 

Join us #MoveForMentalHealth social media campaign on Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; and TikTok, in collaboration with United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health.

 

How to get involved

 

  • If you are on social media, share a video showing what you do for your own mental well-being, including the hashtag #MoveForMentalHealth. Take a look at our own video to give you some ideas:¬†https://twitter.com/DrTedros/status/1314109079523033089¬†! Ask your friends to take part too.
  • Look out for our posts on social media explaining why it is so important to invest in mental health. Share widely. And create your own!

 

Thank you for your support.

 

#MoveForMentalHealth: let’s invest

 

Dévora Kestel

Director

Mental Health and Substance Use Department

World Health Organization

WHO mhGAP Forum 2018

This year, the WHO Mental Health Gap Forum 2018 (mhGAP Forum) is taking place today and tomorrow. It provides an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to discuss progress on the WHO’s Mntal Health Plan 2013-2020. The theme for mhGAP Forum 2018 ¬†is “Accelerating Country Action on Mental Health”, reflecting the vision of the WHO’s 13th General Assembly.

This year, for the first time ever, you can watch the plenary presentations live stream. Access the provisional agenda, and the event webcast link at:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap/forum_2018/en/

Our Chair, Kate Swaffer is attending and tomorrow will be giving a statement on improving post diagnostic support for people with dementia.

As dementia comes under the Mental Health ‘umbrella’ at the WHO, even though it is not a mental health condition, it’s important to represent DAI.

Kate also reblogged a very interesting post by Tina Minkowitz yesterday on her own website, titled: “Is ‘Mental Health’ contrary to human rights‚ÄĚ as it was World Mental Health Day. It’s a very interesting read!

For more information about the event, the WHO website says:

WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme.

Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders are common in all regions of the world, affecting every community and age group across all income countries. While 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to these disorders, most of the people affected – 75% in many low-income countries – do not have access to the treatment they need.

The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries especially with low- and middle-income.

The programme asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, prevented from suicide and begin to lead normal lives‚Äď even where resources are scarce.¬†

This year’s mhGAP Forum will take place on 11-12 October and will provide an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to discuss progress on WHO’s Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 in countries.

The theme for mhGAP Forum 2018 is ‚ÄúAccelerating Country Action on Mental Health,‚ÄĚ reflecting the vision of WHO‚Äôs 13th General Programme of Work.”