The 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), second-ever to be held virtually has ended with adoption of more than 30 resolutions and decisions in different areas of public health. Important issues discussed by the WHO Member States during the WHA included strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies, diabetes, disabilities, ending violence against children, eye care, HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, local production of medicines, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, noncommunicable diseases, nursing and midwifery, oral health, social determinants of health and strategic directions for the health and care workforce.
The WHA also adopted the landmark “Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030”. Delegates agreed on concrete action to eliminate avoidable harm in health care as the adoption of the action plan provides strategic and practical direction to countries to formulate policies and implement interventions at all levels and settings aimed at improving patient safety.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General during his closing remarks, reminded delegates that the theme of this Assembly was “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world”
“We’re very encouraged that cases and deaths are continuing to decline globally, but it would be a monumental error for any country to think the danger has passed," said Dr Tedros urging countries to commit to supporting the targets to achieve vaccination of at least 10% of the population of all countries by the end of September, and at least 30% by the end of the year.
“One day – hopefully soon – the pandemic will be behind us but we will still face the same vulnerabilities that allowed a small outbreak to become a global pandemic."
“That’s why the one recommendation that I believe will do most to strengthen both WHO and global health security is the recommendation for a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response."
The WHO Director-General also emphasized that a strong WHO needs to be properly financed as it has been amplified by all the expert reviews that reported to this Assembly. He urged Member States to seize this pivotal moment and chart a course to a sustainable financial model.