Today the World Health Assembly adopted a formal resolution making autism a global health priority. The assembly is the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO). As such, the resolution brings a formal commitment by member states of the United Nations.
Andy Shih, Autism Speaks senior vice president for scientific affairs announced the good news this morning at the second annual meeting of Autism Speaks Advocacy Leadership Network, in New York City. (More about this year’s meeting here.) Dr. Shih heads Autism Speaks Global Autism Public Health initiative.
"The World Health Assembly, comprised of health ministers from around the world, adopted a new autism developmental disabilities resolution early this morning," said Shih. "This historic resolution firmly establishes autism as a global public health priority and provide stakeholders everywhere a powerful new advocacy tool."
The resolution was co-sponsored by more than 50 countries and supported by all members, including the U.S. It sets out a clear set of actions to be undertaken by WHO member nations to support individuals, families and communities affected by them.
Read the full resolution – "Comprehensive and Coordinated Efforts for the Management of Autism Spectrum Disorders" – here. Listen to Dr. Shih’s call to action at the WHO’s first conference on autism last year.