New resolutions on:
- Local production of medicines
- Ending violence against children
- Addressing social determinants of health
Strengthening local production of medicines and other health technologies to improve access
Member State requests for WHO’s support in strengthening local production have been increasing in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to highlight even more the urgent need for enhancing quality manufacturing capacity in all regions of the world, including for innovative, highly effective health products such as mRNA technologies. Such capacity is necessary to address or even avert future public health emergencies and to improve access to health products in general through stronger health systems.
Sponsored by more than 100 countries, today’s resolution specifically calls for a more comprehensive, all-of-government approach, national strategies and action plans, an enabling business environment, human capital development, multi-stakeholder collaboration and engagement in regional and global networks.
WHO has already committed to holding the first ever World Local Production Forum in June this year, convening countries, partners and other stakeholders to discuss strategies to promote local production to improve access to health products during the current pandemic and beyond.
Ending violence against children
Today’s resolution on Ending violence against children through health systems strengthening and multisectoral approaches aims to strengthen health sector capacity to prevent and respond to violence against children.
The health sector plays a major role in documenting the extent of the problem of violence against children; delivering and monitoring prevention approaches and providing services to mitigate the consequences of exposure to violence.
The new resolution lists a range of actions to be taken by governments and the WHO Secretariat, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to ensure the health and well-being of children.
Every year, about 1 billion children are affected by physical, sexual or psychological violence, suffering injuries, disabilities and death as well as the negative impact of witnessing violence between parents or caregivers. In addition to the immediate and lifelong harmful consequences to individuals and families, violence against children undermines investments in health and education and erodes the productive capacity of future generations. COVID-19-related stay-at-home measures have highlighted children’s vulnerability to violence within family settings.
The new resolution invites countries to scale-up the implementation of two WHO-led technical packages, INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children and RESPECT women: a framework for preventing violence against women, developed to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on ending violence against children (SDG 16.2) and violence against women and girls (SDG 5.2).
The first-ever Global status report on preventing violence against children 2020 measured countries’ progress on preventing and responding to violence against children. The report highlighted substantial achievements at global, regional and country levels, while also emphasizing an urgent need to accelerate prevention efforts if the SDG targets to end violence are to be achieved. The resolution invites the WHO Secretariat to prepare the second and third global status reports on violence against children in 2025 and 2030.
Tackling social determinants of health
The goal of this resolution is to reduce the glaring health inequities recently highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through stronger action to tackle the social determinants that play such a prominent role in defining people’s ability to live healthy lives.
These include the conditions people live in, as well as their access to power, money, and resources, including healthcare. They are often driven by discrimination and persecution, such as racism, sexism, classism and war. And they impact every aspect of health.
Children from the poorest households in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are twice as likely to die before their 5th birthday as those from the richest households. People in rich countries live as many as 16 years longer than those in poor ones.
The World Health Assembly adopted resolutions on social determinants of health in 2009 (following the report of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health) and in 2012 (following the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health and the Rio Political Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health).
The social and health inequalities exposed by COVID-19 have led to renewed interest by Member States in WHO’s work on social determinants of health, and this new resolution.
The resolution aims to strengthen action globally and within countries on the social determinants of health; to reduce health inequities by involving all sectors in taking concrete action to improve living conditions and reduce social inequalities; and improve monitoring of social determinants and health inequities. The resolution lists actions to be taken by governments, civil society, international organizations, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector and the WHO Secretariat, including in continuing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and in future recovery efforts.