The 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 21 to 30 May 2023. The theme for the 76th WHA was “WHO at 75: Saving lives, driving health for all”. The decisions and resolutions fell under four pillars, three of which contributed to the “triple billion targets” defined in the Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW13). It has three targets: to ensure that by 2023, 1 billion more people benefit from universal health coverage; 1 billion more people are better protected from health emergencies; and 1 billion more people enjoy better health and wellbeing. WHO estimates that achieving this “triple billion" target could save 29 million lives.
The 76th WHA addressed a vast array of issues, including behavioral sciences, best buys for non-communicable diseases, diagnostics, drowning prevention, emergency, critical and operative care, food micronutrients, Indigenous health, infection prevention and control, maternal and child health, medical oxygen, primary health care, refugee and migrant health, rehabilitation, traditional medicine, and WHO’s work in responding to dozens of emergencies while working with Member States to be better prepared to face new ones.
The member states also agreed on the first-ever global strategy on infection prevention and control (IPC), which provides Member States with strategic directions to substantially reduce the ongoing risk of health care-associated infections (HAIs), including those that exhibit antimicrobial resistance. The strategy sets a clear vision: by 2030, everyone accessing or providing health care is safe from associated infections.
In his closing remarks, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General spoke about the year ahead, with high-level meetings on universal health coverage, tuberculosis and pandemic preparedness and response at this year’s UN General Assembly. He pointed to the continuing negotiations on the pandemic accord and amendments to the International Health Regulations as unprecedented— “generational”—opportunities to learn from the mistakes of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they are not repeated.
The WHA is the highest decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), gathering annually and composed of delegations from all 194 Member States. The WHA discusses and votes on the decisions and resolutions prepared by either WHO’s Executive Board (EB), Director-General or proposed by groups of Member States.