Headache disorders among one of the greatest threats to public health

Neurological disorders, such as headache, are one of the greatest threats to public health, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) publication Neurological Disorders: public health challenges. “A clear message emerges that, unless immediate action is taken globally, the neurological burden is likely to become an increasingly serious and unmanageable problem in all countries,” says the WHO.

The book describes and discusses the increasing global public health importance of common neurological health concerns, such as headache disorders, and provides new estimates and predictions of the global burden that they cause.

Dr Tim Steiner of the WHA and chairman of Lifting The Burden, The Global Campaign to Reduce the Burden of Headache Worldwide chaired the section relating to headache disorders, with input from WHA chairman Hilkka Kettinen.

  • Advice and recommendations are offered on public health interventions that can reduce the occurrence and impact of neurological disorders:
  • commitment from decision makers is the first essential step to reduce the burden caused by neurological disorders
  • awareness of the public health aspects of neurological disorders needs to be raised through global and local campaigns and initiatives. Headache awareness is being raised by the Lifting The Burden, The Global Campaign to Reduce the Burden of Headache Worldwide
  • innovative approaches to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with neurological disorders needs to be part of the public heath activities
  • the most promising means of reducing the burden of these disorders is to strengthen neurological care within the existing health systems
  • defining the priorities for research, building national capacity and intensifying international collaboration are some of the important ways to being about the necessary changes for those with neurological disorders.