World Health Assembly Resolution 60.22 and its importance as a health care policy tool for improving emergency care access and availability globally
The recent adoption of World Health Assembly Resolution 60.22, titled "Health Systems: Emergency Care Systems," has established an important health care policy tool for improving emergency care access and availability globally. The resolution highlights the role that strengthened emergency care systems can play in reducing the increasing burden of disease from acute illness and injury in populations across the socioeconomic spectrum and calls on governments and the World Health Organization to take specific and concrete actions to make this happen. This resolution constitutes recognition by the World Health Assembly of the growing public health role of emergency care systems and is the highest level of international attention ever devoted to emergency care systems worldwide. Emergency care systems for secondary prevention of acute illnesses and injury remain inadequately developed in many low- and middle-income countries, despite evidence that basic strategies for improving emergency care systems can reduce preventable mortality and morbidity and can in many cases also be cost-effective. Emergency care providers and their professional organizations have used their comprehensive expertise to strengthen emergency care systems worldwide through the development of tools for emergency medicine education, systems assessment, quality improvement, and evidence-based clinical practice. World Health Assembly 60.22 represents a unique opportunity for emergency care providers and other advocates for improved emergency care to engage with national and local health care officials and policymakers, as well as with the World Health Organization, and leverage the expertise within the international emergency medicine community to make substantial improvements in emergency care delivery in places where it is most needed. Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Emergency Physicians.