World Health Organisation (WHO) addressing the year 2020 as a devastating year for global health released a list of 10 issues on Thursday that they will be working on in the year 2021.
In an official statement, the organisation noted that in 2021, countries around the world will need to continue battle Covid-19 and they will need to move swiftly to repair and reinforce their health systems.
"WHO and its partners will be at their side. We will work to help countries strengthen preparedness for pandemics and other emergencies. We will remind them of the importance of bringing countries together and of involving the whole government, not just the health sector," the statement read.
Here are 10 global health issues that WHO want to address in 2021:
Build global solidarity for worldwide health security
WHO will work with countries to improve their own preparedness for pandemics and health emergencies. It will also help tackle health emergencies in humanitarian settings that have been intensified by Covid-19 and target support to better protect the most vulnerable communities against health emergency risks, including in urban settings, small island countries, conflict settings.
The organisation also plans to establish a Biobank – a globally agreed system for sharing pathogen materials and clinical samples to facilitate the rapid development of safe and effective vaccines and medicines.
Speed up access to Covid-19 tests, medicines and vaccines
A top priority for WHO in 2021 will be to continue the work across the four pillars of the ACT-Accelerator, to achieve equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, tests, and treatments and to ensure that health systems are strong enough to deliver them.
Targets for the ACT-Accelerator in 2021 include: distributing 2 billion vaccines; 245 million treatments; establishing testing for 500 million people in low- and middle-income countries, and strengthening the health systems needed to support them.
Advance health for all
In 2021 WHO will work across all three levels of the Organisation and with partners worldwide to help countries strengthen systems so that they can respond to Covid-19 and two important initiatives will underpin this work: the implementation and roll-out of WHO's new primary health care programme in countries and the UHC compendium - a tool to help countries identify the essential health services they need.
To further enhance this work, WHO will lead a global campaign to strengthen the global health workforce in 2021, the Year of the Health and Care Worker.
Tackling health inequities
Drawing on the latest data and building on international commitments WHO seeks to advance universal health coverage and address the broader determinants of health. It will work with countries to monitor and address health inequities related to critical issues such as income, gender, ethnicity, living in remote rural areas or disadvantaged urban areas, education, occupation/employment conditions, and disability.
Provide global leadership on science and data
WHO will monitor and evaluate the latest scientific developments around Covid-19 and beyond, identifying opportunities to harness those advances to improve global health. And through efforts akin to their revamped SCORE Technical Package, it will support countries in strengthening the capacity of their health data and information systems to report on progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Revitalise efforts to tackle communicable diseases
In 2021 WHO will help countries get vaccines for polio and other diseases to the people who missed out during the pandemic. As part of this push, it will work to improve access to the HPV vaccine as part of the new global effort to end cervical cancer we launched in 2020.
It will also work with partners to implement the new 10-year Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), with its global targets and milestones to prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate 20 NTDs. In addition, WHO will intensify efforts to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
Combat drug resistance
WHO will be working with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) -- and with stakeholders across all sectors to preserve antimicrobials.
At the same time, WHO will further improve global monitoring and continue our support to national action plans, making sure that antimicrobial resistance is factored into health system strengthening and health emergencies preparedness plans.
Prevent and treat NCDs and mental health conditions
According to WHO, it must be ensured that screening and treatment programmes for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are accessible to all who need them when they need them. This will be a major focus for the organisation in 2021, along with a new Global Diabetes Compact, and a campaign to help 100 million people quit tobacco.
In 2021, WHO will also support efforts to expand services for community-based mental health care, and to people living in conflict- or disaster-affected areas.
Build back better
As Covid-19 proved to be a pivotal moment in many ways, and offers a unique opportunity to build back a better, greener, healthier world, WHO's goals of addressing climate change and health, reducing air pollution and improving air quality may benefit in 2021.
Act in solidarity
WHO highlighted the need to demonstrate greater solidarity – between nations, institutions, communities and individuals to fight the pandemic. Prioritising this, it will focus on building national capacity through working with the Member States and other new initiatives.