SEVEN TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 73TH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY 2020 GENEVA SWITZERLAND.
The world health assembly, the policy, and governance arm of the WHO, a specialized agency of the United Nations held it,s 73rd annual world health assembly in Geneva Switzerland from the 18th to 19th of May 2020.
Most of it,s close to 200 member states took part in the virtual event which was mostly focused on Global and member states and nonmember preparedness and response to the Coronavirus Pandemic called Covid19.
The assembly which was chaired by the Bahamas and other 5 representatives from member states, deliberated extensively and took certain resolutions and voted in a new executive board of members from WHO member states.
The draft resolution for COVID 19 was made by the European region and cosponsored by close to 130 member states and was voted at the assembly.
The seven takeaways from the two days of deliberations and heated debates from members are ;
1 WHO remains relevant in Global health and international health regulation and should be supported.
Most of the states in the different regions thanked the WHO for the preparedness and response guidelines to the COVID 19 Pandemic and technical and material assistance like test kits, diagnostics, masks, ventilators, training, and exchange of best practices. Madagascar, an African nation that has been in the news recently for it,s Covid19 Organics and criticism of WHO thanked the body for the assistance given them during COVID 19 response, and it should be noted that they are one of the nations elected into the WHO executive board. Most European, Asian, African, South American and North American nations like Mexico, Canada, UK, Isreal, Saudi Arabia, Italy Germany, France, Nigeria, praised the WHO and it,s director-general Dr. Tedros G for the COVID 19 pandemic preparedness and response pledging their support to continue working with WHO
2 Need for Universal health care founded on Primary health care and health systems strengthening.
The member states continue to believe that, the best way to mitigate emergencies, pandemic, and disasters was through universal health coverage through primary health care, and strengthening of the health systems of nations and member states.
Infrastructure building like the Africa CDC increased health-based financial provisions in national and state, local government budgets and capacity building will go along way in solving global health issues.
3 Misunderstanding of the functions of the world health assembly and the WHO secretariat. China and Taiwan differences are still played out at the WHA with the United States among one of the many advocates for the presence of Taiwan to be part of the WHA in an observer capacity while China and it,s advocates of one-China policy at the UN and therefore it,s specialized agency, the WHO strongly condemn the USA and the Taiwan backers. The director-general of the WHO executive general of the global body is mostly criticized for not letting Taiwan sit in the WHA, though only member states can make that decision not the staff of the organization.
4 Call for Global Cooperation and solidarity in the preparedness and response to global health issues like the present COVID 19 Pandemic, with resources produced by WHO considered global public goods to benefit all member states, big and small.
5 GeoPolitics at play at WHA condemned by many stakeholders and member states. Iran, Venezuela, and Syria condemned the united states for causing hardships and related COVID 19 problems fro their people and nations because of unilateral USA sanctions which they condemned. The USA in it,s right of reply during both days of the conference, contradicted it,s accusers, and says the USA continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of those nations in billions of Dollars. Ukraine accused Russia of the effects of occupation and it,s consequences for it,s people, going to the extend of contesting the election of Russia into the executive board, an accusation Russia countered in it,s right of reply by saying Ukraine was shifting blames for it,s failures on Russia.
6 Request for an independent, Transparent, and accountable World health organization.
The many member states thought that the WHO was doing a great job on the preparedness and response to COVID 19 Pandemic and should focus on doing so at this point while asking for an independent, transparent and accountable report and audit of the body at the end of the Global Response to the COVID 19 Pandemic.
The united states of America speaking through it,s secretary of Health and human services, opined that the time for accountability was now.
The director-general of WHO echoed the request for accountability of member states adding that national accountability of members will be required too.
7 More support for the WHO.
Member states in their vast majority believe that the WHO has been serving them well since it,s inception and were willing to support the organization and it,s regional bodies and leadership in their global health issues and work.
Dr. Akwo, Thompson Ntuba