WHO releases new International Classification of Diseases

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Geneva – The World Health Organization (WHO) on 18 June released its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide and contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. It provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.

“The ICD is a product that WHO is truly proud of,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives.”

ICD-11, which has been over a decade in the making, provides significant improvements on previous versions. For the first time, it is completely electronic and has a much more user-friendly format. And there has been unprecedented involvement of health care workers who have joined collaborative meetings and submitted proposals. The ICD team in WHO headquarters has received over 10,000 proposals for revisions.

ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by member States and will come into effect on 1 January 2022. This release is an advance preview that will allow countries to plan how to use the new version, prepare translations, and train health professionals all over the country. The ICD is also used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD coding; national health programme managers; data collection specialists; and others who track progress in global health and determine the allocation of health resources.

The new ICD-11 also reflects progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding. For example, the codes relating to antimicrobial resistance are more closely in line with the Global

Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS). ICD-11 is also able to better capture data regarding safety in healthcare, which means that unnecessary events that may harm health – such as unsafe workflows in hospitals - can be identified and reduced.

The new ICD also includes new chapters, one on traditional medicine: although millions of people use traditional medicine worldwide, it has never been classified in this system. Another new chapter on sexual health brings together conditions that were previously categorized in other ways (e.g. gender incongruence was listed under mental health conditions) or described differently. Gaming disorder has been added to the section on addictive disorders.

“A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling – this will allow health care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions,” says Dr Robert Jakob, Team Leader, Classifications Terminologies and Standards, WHO.

Dr Lubna Alansari, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Metrics and Measurement, says: “ICD is a cornerstone of health information and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease.”

ICD-11 is linked to the WHO non-proprietary names of pharmaceutical products, and it can be used for cancer registration. ICD-11 has been designed to be used in multiple languages: a central translation platform ensures that its features and outputs are available in all translated languages. Transition tables from and to ICD-10 support migration to ICD-11. WHO will support countries as they move towards implementation of the new ICD-11. – WHO

 

. . . Launches Global action plan on physical activity

T

he World Health Organization (WHO) has on 4 June 2018 launched the new “WHO Global action plan on physical activity and health 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world.”

“Being active is critical for health. But in our modern world, this is becoming more and more of a challenge, largely because our cities and communities aren’t designed in the right ways,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need leaders at all levels to help people to take the healthier step. This works best at city level, where most responsibility lies for creating healthier spaces.”

Worldwide, one in five adults, and four out of five adolescents (11-17 years) do not do enough physical activity. Girls, women, older adults, poorer people, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, marginalized populations, and indigenous people have fewer opportunities to be active.

WHO advised that regular physical activity is key to preventing and treating noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. NCDs are responsible for 71% of all deaths globally, including for the deaths of 15 million people per year aged 30 to 70.

The action plan shows how countries can reduce physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 15% by 2030. It recommends a set of 20 policy areas, which combined, aim to create more active societies through improving the environments and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to do more walking, cycling, sport, active recreation, dance and play.

It also calls for support to, for example, training of health care workers and other professionals, stronger data systems, as well as the use of digital technologies.

Dr Tedros added: “You don’t need to be a professional athlete to choose to be active. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator makes a difference. Or walking or using the bike instead of driving to your neighbourhood bakery. It’s the choices we make each and every day that can keep us healthy. Leaders must help make these choices the easy ones.” 

To support national efforts to implement the plan, WHO is launching an advocacy campaign to promote physical activity, Let’s Be Active: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday. This new drive, launched at the Portuguese Football Association’s iconic Cidade do Futebol (City of Football), aims to encourage governments and city authorities to make it easier for people to be more physically active, and healthier.

It follows the first WHO Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge event that attracted more than 4000 people to promote movement and activity for health on 20 May in Geneva, on the eve of the World Health Assembly.

In line with WHO’s drive to promote physical activity to beat NCDs, Portugal launched its own national media campaign to promote physical amongst the population.

“This national campaign arises from our drive to inform the Portuguese of the benefits of having healthier lifestyles in order to fight NCDs,” said Mr Costa. “The Portuguese Government is highly committed to implementing a systemic approach to promote physical activity and is honoured to receive the launch of the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity.”

Physical inactivity is more than a health challenge: the financial costs are also enormous. Globally, physical inactivity is estimated to cost US$54 billion in direct health care, of which 57% is incurred by the public sector and an additional US$14 billion is attributable to lost productivity.

World leaders will meet later this year to take action on physical inactivity and other causes of NCDs, and mental disorders, when they take part in the Third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs, being held on 27 September in New York. 

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