Senior Policy Advisor, European Federation of Neurological Associations
After years of neglect, neurological disorders and brain health are coming out of the shadows. Neurological conditions are the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years and the second leading cause of death worldwide.
The UN High-Level Political Declaration added neurological and mental disorders as the fifth priority in the global noncommunicable diseases agenda. In 2020, WHO established a Brain Health Unit that played a central role in developing an integrated response to neurology through Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders 2022–2031. The IGAP was adopted by all WHO Member States at the World Health Assembly in 2022.
Towards a united voice for neurology
Those exceptional developments called for a global united voice of the neurological community, capable of exerting political influence and engaging with policymakers at the highest levels. In 2019, the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) started engaging at a global level to capitalise on the promising trends and started advocating for a comprehensive global response to neurological disorders and brain health.
Soon, it became clear that to effect a real change, there is a need to build a global coalition that would have the patient voice strongly built in. Consequently, in 2021, EFNA created the OneNeurology Initiative which evolved into the OneNeurology Partnership co-founded by EFNA and the European Academy of Neurology.
Soon, it became clear that to effect a real change, there is a need to build a global coalition that would have the patient voice strongly built in.
A vehicle to support the IGAP implementation
The Partnership is a patient-focused and multi-stakeholder alliance bringing together international neurological organisations and regional umbrellas. As such, it is the only global partnership where patients, clinicians and researchers come together to advocate for neurological conditions as one. The partnership is united by a vision of a world where neurological health is valued and protected as our most vital asset — to the benefit of all society.
It is calling for neurological conditions to be prioritised globally within the context of brain health. The Partnership speaks in one voice to raise awareness of the impact of neurological conditions, the challenges to overcome and the opportunities to improve brain health for everyone. The iGAP is central to the OneNeurology work that is strategically placed to assist WHO and Member States in successfully implementing the plan. Leveraging the plan, the Partnership encourages patient advocates worldwide to drive change.