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Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly to focus on “saving lives, driving health for all” as WHO turns 75

Change Your Water, Change Your Life Health Conference

As the world faces ongoing health and humanitarian emergencies, the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly will focus on driving forward health for all.

This year’s session of the World Health Assembly will determine the immediate and longer-term future of WHO, starting with the program budget for the next two years, key decisions about the sustainable financing of the Organization and changes put in place to improve WHO’s processes and accountability. Delegates will also deliberate about the critical role that WHO has in the Global Health Emergency Architecture.

The backdrop to these issues is the organization’s 75th anniversary, with the highlights of its collective global health achievements since WHO’s creation in 1948. It will review last year’s progress, accomplishments and challenges along with future priorities across the key pillars of WHO’s work: Universal Health Coverage, Emergencies, Promoting Health and Well-being. WHA76 will convene 21-30 May at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

“As we mark WHO’s 75th anniversary, we can be proud of our past achievements, but we must be mindful of lessons learned, as we transition from the emergency phase of COVID-19, and create a future where every person has access to the health services they need,” said Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “This means strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response and resilience, supporting countries on the road to universal health coverage, and building a stronger, sustainably-funded and accountable WHO.”

To kickstart WHA76 on Sunday 21 May, the fourth edition of Walk the Talk: Health for All challenge will start at Place des Nations at 8:30 am CEST (warm-up starts at 7:30 am CEST), to promote physical and mental health and celebrate the importance of partnership during the WHO’s 75th anniversary. At about 2:00 pm CEST, following a family photo with Heads of Delegations, the Assembly high-level welcome at Palais des Nations will feature speeches from the WHO Director-General, Heads of State and special guests. List of speakers below).

During this session, the DG will present life-time achievement awards to two global health leaders.

On Monday 22 May, the Director-General will give his main address at approximately 10:00 am.

On Friday, 26 May, the WHO Director-General will be joined by representatives of five global foundations, to present five public health awards and prizes to the seven laureates for 2023. They come from Bahrain, China, Guatemala, Lebanon, Nepal, Thailand and the Philippines.

Key issues

Key discussions and decisions are expected on:

· A review of WHOs work in health emergencies, including the International Health Regulations and strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies;

· Strategies and global action on areas such as women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, rehabilitation, universal health coverage and primary health care, traditional medicine, infection prevention and control, substandard and falsified medicines, health of refugees and migrants, non-communicable diseases, mental health, social determinants, nutrition and disabilities;

· Approval of the WHO Programme Budget for 2024-2025, including the decision to increase assessed contributions and other matters emanating from the Working Group on Sustainable Financing.

Daily Strategic roundtables will take place at lunch time from Monday to Saturday in Room XVIII. These events will host discussions among assembly delegates, partner agencies, representatives of civil society and WHO experts on public health priorities. Sessions run from 22-27 May, from 13:00 to 14:15 CEST and can be followed online.

As WHO’s highest decision-making body, the Health Assembly sets out the Organization’s policy and approves its budget. WHA is attended by delegations from all WHO 194 Member States. The Health Assembly’s agenda is preceded by the 30th meeting of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee of the Executive Board, which will meet on 17-19 May, 2023. After the Assembly, the 153th meeting of the Executive Board will take place from 31 May to 1 June.

The Health Assembly is open to registered and accredited Member States, Associate Members, Observers, invited representatives of the UN and other participating inter-governmental organizations and non-State actors.

About the author

Joseph Chukwuma Oputa

Joseph Chukwuma Oputa is the Managing Editor of Maslow Businessnews and Physicians News publications published by Maslow Business News Publications, Lagos, Nigeria.

Joseph Oputa is a proud Alumnus of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State.

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