Neurological disorders are the number one cause of disability globally. The five largest contributors are stroke, migraine, dementia, meningitis and epilepsy. Yet, the burden of neurological disorders is widely unrecognized.
During the Executive Board meeting in February 2020, Member States requested WHO to prepare a report on “Synergies in addressing the burden of epilepsy and other neurological disorders” (item 11.6, page 8). The report submitted for WHA73 highlights the insufficient access to services and support for neurological disorders, especially in low- and middle-income countries, due to shortages of workforce, stigmatization, discrimination and limited access to medicines, diagnostics and technology.
The report is the first of its kind and represents a big step forward in helping people with neurological conditions worldwide. Through a combination of political will, collaboration with civil society partners and other stakeholders and innovative strategies, the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of neurological disorders can be strengthened in primary care and integrated into universal health coverage, even in low-resource settings.