Major Accomplishments at the WHO to advance the cause of Global Hearing Health!
On May 31st, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization approved a motion for a new resolution on Hearing Loss to be presented to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2017. The last WHA resolution for the prevention of hearing impairment was passed on 12 May 1995. Twenty one years later, the estimated number affected by disabling hearing loss has increased 300%, to 360 million people worldwide, with two-thirds of affected individuals living in low- and middle-income countries and the vast majority of these individuals do not have access to any services for their hearing loss. Under the leadership of the International Society for Audiology and after several years of advocacy by dedicated Coalition for Global Hearing Health members and affiliates around the world along with several other committed organizations, the WHO Executive Board has taken the critical step toward a new updated resolution for hearing loss. The draft resolution can be found at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB139/B139_5-en.pdf.
This motion was verbally supported by representatives from many member state countries, including Colombia, Philippines, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo (on behalf of the 47 African countries), China, Canada, Bhutan, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Mexico, USA, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, India, and Algeria. The statements of these dignitaries can be viewed at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2016/wha69/eb-webstreaming/en/ (the parts pertaining to hearing loss can be found from 53 minutes to 1hr 50 minutes).
Thanks to all involved for making this milestone in making hearing health a priority possible!
From Left to right: Mr. Michael Chowen, CBE (Society of Sound Hearing), Dr. George Tavartkiladze (Secretary-General, International Society of Audiology); Dr. Alarcos Cieza; Dr. Shelly Chadha (WHO, Technical Officer of Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss); Dr. Etienne Krug (WHO, Director of Department for NCD, NVIP); Dr. Diego Santana-Hernández, Senior Advisor for Ear & Hearing Care, CBM)
The Executive Board deliberating over the proposed Resolution