WHO endorses action plans for tobacco control, mental health and antimicrobial resistance

News release

At the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific on Tuesday, the Regional Committee endorsed the Regional Action Plan for the Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific (2015–2019), the Regional Agenda for Implementing the Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 in the Western Pacific and the Action Agenda for Antimicrobial Resistance in the Western Pacific Region.

Towards a tobacco-free Region

The Regional Action Plan for the Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific (2015–2019) is a critical step towards cohesive and sustainable tobacco control systems. The action plan will accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which all Western Pacific Member States are parties. The action plan focuses on increased institutional capacity, effective policies and governance, and multisectoral actions and partnerships for tobacco control in Member States.

Tobacco control is essential for the control of noncommunicable diseases, which cause four out of five deaths in the Region. The evolving context for tobacco control requires vigilance. This includes stepped up enhancement of tobacco control measures and agile responses to increased tobacco industry interference in policy-making and emerging new products and marketing techniques, such as use of the Internet and social media.

Mental health in the Western Pacific Region

After a panel discussion outlining the scope and impact of mental disorders in the Western Pacific Region, as well as action points to improve access to services, the Regional Committee considered the Regional Agenda for Implementing the Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 in the Western Pacific features a phased approach with core, expanded and comprehensive implementation. The regional agenda provides a framework to prioritize and accelerate mental health policies and actions in Member States.

More than 100 million people suffer from mental disorders in the Western Pacific Region. There are an estimated 500 suicides per day in the Region, making it one of the top 10 causes of death in some countries and areas. Mental health disorders are often related to other diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Three strategic entry points for action are identified to expedite the implementation of the Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 in the context of the Western Pacific Region: (1) health systems approach; (2) whole-of government approach to priority conditions; and (3) social movement for mental health and well-being.

Taking a stance against AMR

AMR is a global public health concern. The first WHO global report in 2014 on AMR surveillance points to a rapid increase in resistance to common bacterial pathogens and antimicrobials often required for life-threatening diseases. The main drivers of AMR include: weak health systems with poor prescribing practices; inadequate regulation and enforcement to curb overuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals; and insufficient measures to contain the spread of infections.

The Action Agenda for Antimicrobial Resistance in the Western Pacific Region aims to strengthen national plans, raise awareness across sectors, improve surveillance and strengthen health system's capacity to contain AMR.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Ruel E. Serrano
Public Information Office
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific
United Nations Avenue corner Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 528 9993
Email: serranor@wpro.who.int

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