This blog has been written by Dr Diego Santana-Hernández – CBM Global Advisor for Ear and Hearing Care
This 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) which has just taken place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 22nd to 31st May 2017, has become very important for CBM, particularly for the area of work of Ear and Hearing Care (EHC), because a new Resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss has been presented and adopted (approved) by the Assembly. A new WHA resolution approved by WHO Member States is a very strong tool for advocacy before Ministries of Health all over the world, including those countries where CBM works, because it is a public strategic document which their own governments have approved alongside all members of WHO.
Since 2015, CBM has been involved in this long advocacy process leading up to the present stage of progress. Firstly by contributing to raise awareness about the need of a new resolution among WHO Member States. Then by working alongside them in the process of developing this initiative and reviewing the draft document. Later on through advocacy with members of the WHO Executive Board, who approved the draft Resolution in May 2016. And finally, by lobbying with Ministries of Health across the world, requesting their support and endorsement of the resolution at this year’s WHA. This process has been mainly carried out by CBM advisors in EHC, through individual high level meetings during advisory field visits, at regional fora facilitated in collaboration with WHO regional offices, and also at international professional events; by transmitting this important message to technical officers and EHC professionals working with, or alongside, their Governments.
A particularly significant advocacy event took place on 4th and 5th May 2017, led by the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), co-facilitated with and supported by CBM (IO and LARO): the 3rd Meeting of Eye and Ear care managers at Ministries of Health in Latin America and the Caribbean. This event brought together 65 delegates with representatives from Ministries of Health of 26 different countries in the Americas. This was an excellent opportunity to directly interact in a high level forum with managers and technical officers for their Governments. They were updated on the progress of the WHO proceedings towards the resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss, and we encouraged that as many WHO Member States as possible would support its adoption during the 70th WHA in May 2017.
The Resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss was included under Point 15.8 of the 70th WHA agenda, and adopted by Committee B on Tuesday 30th May 2017. CBM, as a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, was allowed to make a statement which can be accessed through this WHO web-link.
Certainly, another example that “Together we can do more”