Breaking News: Governments Adopt a Global Resolution on Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease at the 71st World Health Assembly
Following years of campaigning and advocacy from the RHD community, we are delighted to announce that today, Friday 25 May, Member States of the World Health Organization unanimously adopted a Global Resolution on Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
This historic decision marks the first time that Rheumatic Fever (RF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) have been recognised as global health priorities on the world stage. The Resolution was co-sponsored by countries from all six WHO regions, demonstrating the urgent need for a global response.
The Resolution on Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease was written by a group of governments – led by New Zealand – and is accompanied by a summary report from WHO, which calls for a ‘coordinated global response’ to tackle RHD.
There was strong consensus among governments that action was needed on a range of fronts, including strengthening primary and secondary prevention of RF and RHD, integrating RHD services into primary health care, securing a reliable supply of benzathine penicillin G, and ensuring a well-resourced and trained health workforce to provide RHD services.
Discussions also noted that prevention and control is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage. As a high-level global policy that demands national and international decision-makers to take action, the Resolution marks a significant step forward towards tackling RHD and RF.
However, this is just a first step, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that governments and the World Health Organization fulfil their commitment to take action on this preventable disease.
Finally, an acknowledgement of all stakeholders who have helped make RF and RHD a global priority, including advocates, researchers, health workers, the private sector, and of course, people living with RHD.
We look forward to sharing more updates with you over the next few weeks. Until then, all the best from the RHD Action team.