The World Stroke Organization (WSO) played an active role throughout the 154th Executive Board (EB154) of the World Health Organization (WHO) held in Geneva, Switzerland from January 22 to 27, 2024, ensuring the prominence of stroke-related issues in the agenda-setting dialogue. This crucial meeting serves as a platform for member states to agree upon the agenda for the upcoming World Health Assembly in May and the resolutions to be considered during the assembly.
Throughout the week, WSO engaged in meaningful discussions with country delegations and fellow advocates from the Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) and global health communities. In collaboration with other partners of the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health, WSO delivered a statement on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), emphasizing the importance of addressing circulatory diseases including stroke within the framework of broader health coverage. [Link to statement]
Despite the WHO report to the Board highlighting progress in NCD prevention and management in 2023, the Director-General acknowledged the slowed pace of NCD progress, attributing it to the impact of COVID-19 and other barriers such as armed conflict, climate change, and humanitarian crises. Many countries underscored the pivotal role of Primary Health Care (PHC) and UHC in strengthening the response to NCDs, aligning with WSO's advocacy efforts. A key theme that emerged during the discussions was the need for improved cooperation between countries, emphasizing better exchange of best practices and knowledge. This mirrors the objectives of WSO's Global Stroke Alliance meetings, where collaborative efforts are made to enhance the global response to stroke.
Looking ahead, WSO expresses its commitment to continuing engagement with the WHO and Member States in preparation for the World Health Assembly in May. Additionally, WSO is excited to announce its first-ever World Health Assembly side event, focusing on acute stroke treatment. This event signifies a significant step forward in advancing discussions and actions related to acute stroke care on the global health stage. The WSO remains dedicated to driving positive change and elevating the profile of stroke within the broader international health agenda.
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.