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Addressing a neglected health condition: Global action plan for neurological disorders

The plan additionally defines global targets for each of its five strategic objectives. These are intended to function as benchmarks for measuring the success of each objective by 2031.

The nervous system. By Scientificanimations.com. CC BY-SA 4.0,
The nervous system. By Scientificanimations.com. CC BY-SA 4.0,

The World Health Organization (WHO) has put forwards the Intersectoral Global Action Plan (IGAP) –  a critical blueprint for combating neurological conditions. The plan calls for urgent action from governments and healthcare organizations around the world to tackle a range of diseases.

Neurological conditions are one of the largest causes of disability-adjusted life years and the second-largest cause of death worldwide.

To assist with the tasks, the IGAP outlines goals to help governments and national healthcare organizations direct research and investment in areas with the greatest possible impact on global health.

According to Dr. Tarun Dua, Head of the Brain Health Unit at WHO: “The Intersectoral Global Action Plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders is a roadmap that outlines how we can promote brain health, prevent neurological disorders and ensure appropriate diagnosis, treatment and care for people living with these conditions.”

The plan was presented to the 26th World Congress of Neurology.

In terms of the core content, the IGAP outlines five strategic objectives. These are:

  • Raise policy prioritization and strengthen governance.
  • Provide effective, timely and responsive diagnosis, treatment and care.
  • Implement strategies for promotion and prevention.
  • Foster research and innovation and strengthen information systems.
  • Strengthen the public health approach to epilepsy.

The WHO plans to work with different countries in order to provide resources and tools to support advocates, policymakers, researchers and health care providers in taking the necessary steps to achieve the plan’s global strategic objectives.

This includes not only focusing on the about the clinical aspects of neurology but also the public health aspects of neurology.

The plan additionally defines global targets for each of its five strategic objectives. These are intended to function as benchmarks for measuring the success of each objective by 2031.

With the objective of raising policy prioritization and strengthening governance, the targets include:

  • 100 percent of countries have awareness raising or advocacy campaigns for neurological disorders by 2031.
  • 75 percent of countries have updated policies, strategies or plans to include neurological disorders in health policy by 2031.

Such targets are important since low-income countries currently have an average of 1 neurologist per million people compared to 71 per million in high-income countries.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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