[Ip-health] MSF intervention at 65th WHA- Agenda item 13.16: Disease eradication, prevention and control

Katy Athersuch katy.athersuch at googlemail.com
Sat May 26 02:21:34 PDT 2012

65th World Health Assembly; Agenda item 13.16

Disease eradication, prevention and control

Intervention by Michelle Childs, Médecins Sans Frontières International

Médecins Sans Frontières actively responds to, and advocates on, many
different diseases under discussion today.  These include:

*Chagas disease. *7,000 people received treatment in 2010.  Although a
step-up from 50 treated in 2005, this represents just a fraction of those
in need. Continued progress reporting is required. We call on Member States
to scale up screening, and to diagnose and treat at primary healthcare
level, as requested in PAHO and WHO resolutions. Follow-up and treatment of
babies born to women with Chagas disease is also needed.

Recent stock ruptures of first-line treatment drug benznidazole hampered
the activities of MSF and national control programmes. Ministries of Health
in Latin America and PAHO should commit to drug forecasting to facilitate
continuous and sustainable production.

*Viral hepatitis. *Just as WHO led the way for a public health response to
HIV/AIDS, the same is needed for Hepatitis C – we need guidelines for
treatment and care. There should also be recognition that price is a
barrier to accessing treatment, both now, and in the future.

Wide access and affordability of the treatment game changers that are soon
to be available need to be ensured.

*Multidrug and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. *Most country plans
are not ambitious enough and just a small fraction of people with MDR TB
are and will be diagnosed and treated in the coming years, far off the
targets set by the 62nd WHA. We call on Member States to considerably
strengthen their efforts.

Rampant irrational use and over-the-counter availability of TB drugs in a
number of countries risks further resistance development. This requires
urgent action, especially as new drugs will soon be introduced.

Looking ahead, the development of a new TB strategy should begin now, as
the current one expires in 2015.

* *

*Cholera. *We welcome steps taken by WHO on the cholera vaccine. MSF is
currently vaccinating in reaction to a cholera outbreak in Guinea, as part
of a comprehensive strategy. There is still a need to develop an
easier-to-use single dose cholera vaccine.

We note with concern that cholera cases in Haiti are on the rise and
preparation is not adequate. MSF treated 1,600 cases in Port-au-Prince in
April, a quadrupling in less than a month.

* *

*Human African Trypanosomiasis.  *Since the 1980s, MSF has screened over
three million and treated over 50,000 people for sleeping sickness. Through
insufficient surveillance in remote and insecure areas, prevalence,
mortality and active transmission are undoubtedly higher than reported,
with sleeping sickness patients dying undiagnosed. Member States should
close the surveillance gap in central African countries, especially
targeting remote and insecure areas and to close the severe funding gaps of
control programmes. Only DRC has significant bilateral donor support to its
national programme, but this will end in mid-2013.

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