WHO releases list of 10 global health issues to track in 2021

The pandemic could set back the global health progress achieved in the past 20 years and in 2021, the world would have to work hard to repair and reinforce their health systems if they want to effectively deliver vaccines, the WHO said.
Coronavirus disease has claimed over 1.75 million lives worldwide.(AFP photo)
Coronavirus disease has claimed over 1.75 million lives worldwide.(AFP photo)
Updated on Dec 26, 2020 12:02 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Prashasti Singh

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of global health issues that the world could have to deal with in 2021 as inadequacies of health systems across countries lay bare at the hands of the coronavirus disease that has claimed over 1.75 million lives worldwide.

The pandemic could set back the global health progress achieved in the past 20 years and in 2021, the world would have to work hard to repair and reinforce their health systems if they want to effectively deliver vaccines, the WHO said.

The ten ways to help countries strengthen preparedness for emergencies in 2021 are:

1. Build global solidarity for worldwide health security: Countries need to work together to improve their preparedness for health emergencies. Support needs to be targeted to the most vulnerable communities, including in urban settings, small island countries and conflict settings. 

2. Speed up access to Covid-19 tests, medicines and vaccines: WHO aims to achieve equitable access to vaccines and treatments and to ensure a smooth delivery to the needy. The WHO will distribute 2 billion vaccines; 245 million treatments; establish testing for 500 million people in low- and middle-income countries; and strengthen the health systems needed to support them.

3. Advance health for all: During the next year, countries would need to strengthen their health systems so that they can respond to emergencies such as Covid-19.

4. Tackling health inequities: WHO will work with countries to address health inequities related to income, gender, ethnicity, education, occupation/employment conditions, disability etc.

5. Provide global leadership on science and data: Countries would need to strengthen the capacity of their health data and information systems to report on progress towards their health-related goals, the WHO has said adding that it would monitor and evaluate all scientific developments around Covid-19 and other emergencies, identifying opportunities to harness those advances to improve global health.

6. Revitalize efforts to tackle communicable diseases: Next year, the WHO will help countries get vaccines for polio and other diseases to the people who missed out during the pandemic.

7. Combat drug resistance: Countries will be able to beat infectious diseases only if they have effective medicines to treat them. WHO said it will improve global monitoring and continue to support national action plans, ensuring that antimicrobial resistance is factored into health emergencies preparedness plans.

8. Prevent and treat NCDs and mental health conditions: According to the WHO, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) were responsible for 7 of the top 10 causes of death in 2019 and 2020 taught us how people with NCDs were vulnerable to Covid-19. The year 2021 should focus on ensuring that that screening and treatment programmes for diseases are accessible to the needy.

9. Build back better: Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to build back a “better, greener, healthier world” in 2021, WHO said.

10. Act in solidarity: There is a need for everyone to demonstrate greater solidarity. Nations, institutions, communities and individuals should “close the cracks” in defences, the WHO said.

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