Skip to main content

WHO to draft Global Action Plan on Epilepsy

Last Updated:

At the World Health Assembly held in November, World Health Organisation (WHO) member states endorsed a resolution calling for scaled-up and integrated action on epilepsy and other neurological disorders and asked that the WHO draft a global action plan.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the WHO, attended by delegates from each country and responsible for setting the policies of the WHO.

The resolution was proposed by a number of countries which included all EU member states, including Ireland. The WHO will now draft a global action plan aimed at addressing a number of challenges that face people with epilepsy across the globe. This is slated to be presented to the 75th World Health Assembly for endorsement in May 2022.

The resolution presented to the Assembly recognised a number of challenges that face people with epilepsy and makes recommendations aimed at addressing them. In summary, the resolution recommends that a global action plan be tasked with:

  • reducing avoidable deaths
  • improving services
  • improving access to essential medicines
  • improving research
  • tackling discrimination and stigma

Epilepsy Ireland welcomes this outcome and are delighted with the support given by the Irish delegation to the Assembly. We had previously made representations to Ireland’s delegation urging support for the resolution and the development of a Global Action Plan for Epilepsy and other neurological disorders. At international level, the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy have been instrumental in lobbying decision makers to support the move.

While this resolution will not resolve the immediate issues that many people with epilepsy face, this process does represent a significant policy success. A global action plan with targets on each of the five key areas above represents a global acknowledgement of the challenges that people with epilepsy face and in doing so, will challenge member states – including Ireland – to address them.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the draft action plan closely and provide updates on our website and social media channels. To read the full resolution that was adopted at the recent meeting of the World Health Assembly, visit the World Health Assembly website.