Home Global Health News Top 40 Global Health Achievements of 2023

Here are the top 40 global health highlights from 2023, compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO).

  1. The WHO certified Azerbaijan and Tajikistan as malaria-free, followed by Belize.
  2. Egypt became the first country in the world to achieve “gold tier” status on the path to eliminating hepatitis C.
  3. Ghana eliminated gambiense Human African trypanosomiasis.
  4. Benin and Mali eliminated trachoma.
  5. Bangladesh and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic successfully eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health concern.
  6. Bangladesh also became the first country in the world to be officially validated for having eliminated kala-azar.
  7. The WHO declared COVID-19 over as a global health emergency.
  8. Global partners announced “The Big Catch-up”: a coordinated effort to reverse the declines in childhood vaccination, strengthen health systems, and work towards a future where no child dies of a vaccine-preventable disease.
  9. WHO recommended a new vaccine for malaria prevention.
  10. A new dengue vaccine was recommended for introduction in settings with a high disease burden.
  11. WHO prequalified a novel meningococcal conjugate vaccine and issued a policy for its use in the countries of the African meningitis belt.
  12. Thirty countries have introduced the vaccine, including some with high levels of cervical cancer such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
  13. This year saw a record-breaking resurgence of many infectious diseases – anthrax, chikungunya, cholera, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue, diphtheria, influenza, RSV – that needed a coordinated regional and global response. Other outbreaks included Lassa Fever in Nigeria and Ebola disease in Uganda, as well as Marburg virus disease in Equatorial Guinea and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  14. This year, there were over 1200 attacks on health care, affecting workers, patients, hospitals, clinics, and ambulances, across 19 countries and territories, resulting in over 700 deaths and nearly 1200 injuries.
  15. WHO declared an end to two Public Health Emergencies of International Concern: COVID-19 and smallpox.
  16. A new COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health was signed by over 130 countries at the UN Climate Conference.
  17. WHO’s MPOWER tobacco control measures were introduced globally.
  18. This year, Mauritius became the first country in Africa, and the Netherlands the first in Europe, to put in place the full package of WHO tobacco control policies at the highest possible level, joining only two other countries, Brazil and Türkiye, which have achieved the same goal.
  19. WHO released its first-ever report on the devastating global impact of high blood pressure.
  20. India launched an ambitious initiative to screen and place 75 million people with hypertension or diabetes on standard care by 2025.
  21. The Philippines is expanding its programs to prevent and manage cardiovascular diseases.
  22. Thirty-three countries in the WHO Region of the Americas have scaled up health delivery services to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases.
  23. WHO’s Special Initiative for Mental Health is being implemented across WHO’s 6 regions, in Argentina, Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.
  24. The new WHO Global status report on road safety 2023 shows that, since 2010, the number of annual road traffic deaths has fallen by 5% to 1.19 million.
  25. The 76th World Health Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution on drowning prevention.
  26. A trial this year showed major promise for reducing maternal deaths due to postpartum bleeding, the leading global cause of maternal mortality.
  27. The first-ever global roadmap to tackle postpartum hemorrhage was launched in October 2023.
  28. Australia is on target to achieve elimination within the next 10 years, and England’s National Health Service (NHS) pledged to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040.
  29. This year, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Switzerland were the first three countries to be listed as WHO-Listed Authorities.
  30. The WHO Essential Medicines List was updated in 2023 with new inclusions for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and cancer, among others.
  31. The Essential Diagnostics List was updated with 8 new entries, including diagnostics for the self-care of diabetes. Glucose personal monitors were among the additions, along with hepatitis E tests.
  32. The publication of a WHO testing method for the contaminant seen in syrup medicines will help combat substandard health products which have led to at least 300 deaths in children worldwide.
  33. Countries at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA76) passed a historic resolution for the health of Indigenous Peoples calling for a Global Action Plan to specifically address the health disparities faced by their communities for the first time.
  34. Ministers and government representatives adopted a groundbreaking political declaration – the Rabat Declaration – committing to improve the health of refugees and migrants.
  35. WHO and partners convened the first WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit to harness the potential of evidence-based traditional, complementary and integrative medicine.
  36. The UN General Assembly hosted three High-Level Meetings on health – the highest number ever. Here, world leaders made a historic commitment for greater collaboration, governance, and investment to prevent, prepare for, and respond to future pandemics.
  37. A new Political Declaration on ending tuberculosis was also signed.
  38. WHO is working to ensure the safety and effectiveness of AI for health, new guidance was published listing key regulatory considerations on AI for health.
  39. WHO and the G20 India presidency announced a new Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) at the G20 Summit hosted by the Government of India.
  40. WHO announced a landmark digital health partnership with the European Commission, based on the European Union (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification.

Read full story: World Health Organization

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