Draft of WHO Intersectoral GAP on epilepsy and other neurological disorders published

The European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) very much welcomes publication of the first draft of the WHO Intersectoral global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders 2022 – 2031 (GAP – https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/Web-based-consultation-on-the-first-draft-of-the-Intersectoral-global-action-plan-on-epilepsy-and-other-neurological-disorders).

Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and the second leading cause of death globally. In Europe, they are the third leading cause of DALYs and mortality.

In November 2020, the World Health Assembly adopted resolution on Global actions on epilepsy and other neurological disorders, which requested the WHO Director-General to develop an Intersectoral global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders in consultation with Member States. The resolution was co- sponsored by around 40 countries, out of which there were all 27 EU member states, giving it a strong European support.

Based on the feedback to the GAP Consultation Paper, which EFNA contributed to, the first draft of the plan has been published on 18th June. It outlines the scope, vision, goal, and strategic objectives as well as specific actions for Member States, the WHO Secretariat and international and national partners.

The plan has five objectives:

  1. To raise the prioritization and strengthen governance for neurological disorders
  2. To provide effective, timely and responsive diagnosis, treatment, and care for neurological disorders
  3. To implement strategies for the promotion of brain health and prevention of neurological disorders
  4. To foster research and innovation and strengthen information systems for neurological disorders
  5. To strengthen the public health approach to epilepsy and promote synergies with other neurological disorders

It also includes global targets and indicators, such as:

  • Global target 1.1: 75% of countries will have adapted or updated existing national policies, strategies, plans or frameworks to include neurological disorders by 2031
  • Global target 1.2: 100% of countries will have at least one functioning awareness campaign or advocacy programme for neurological disorders by 2031

All interested stakeholders are invited to share their comments on the first draft by 5 August 2021.

Just like with the discussion paper, EFNA will now start working on drafting the initial feedback that will form the basis for joint response involving EFNA members. In parallel, we will also work on gathering the feedback from the OneNeurology Partnership, to develop a more global perspective. To this end, the OneNeurology Partnership organizes a Global Advocacy Workshop on 29th June titled: “GAP: How to ensure we collectively deliver a meaningful and impactful response for people living with neurological disorders worldwide?”.

The finalized GAP will be submitted to the 2022 WHO Executive Board session and adopted at the 2022 World Health Assembly.