Kolkata, India: The 73rd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) — the World Health Organization’s top decision-making body — would underline the significance of resolving the present epidemic and preventing the next one.
WHO says the COVID-19 epidemic is far from over, and the worldwide reaction is in its latter stages.
Despite advances, stark disparities continue to stymie progress, with vaccine disparity one of the most pressing concerns, presenting a threat to the end of the pandemic and global recovery — over 75% of all vaccine doses have been delivered in only 10 countries, with the lowest-income nations administering fewer than 12% of worldwide doses.
Delegations from all across the globe attend the WHO’s top decision-making body, the Health Assembly. Associate Members, Observers, invited representatives of the United Nations, and other participating intergovernmental organizations, as well as non-state actors, will be able to participate.
The session this year will take place virtually from May 24 to June 1, 2021. COVID-19 cases have surged 40-fold in the last year, reaching 162 million, with over 3.3 million fatalities.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on all nations, but it has been more severe on populations that were already disadvantaged, as they are more susceptible to the disease, have less access to adequate health care, and are more likely to suffer negative repercussions (such as lost income) as a result of pandemic-fighting measures, WHO says in a media release.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, observed, “a crisis frequently brings out the best in individuals and organizations.”
He said, from the WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan through our technical guidance, the Solidarity Trial, the UN Supply Chain Task Force, the OpenWHO.org learning platform, and initiatives like the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, including its COVAX partnership, and the Solidarity Response Fund, WHO has provided countries with effective and evidence-based tools to prevent infections, save lives, and rebuild their economies.
“I am especially proud of the incredible work that WHO staff have done all over the world in the past 17 months to support countries to put these tools to work,” he said.
The Assembly’s agenda will be centered on the health-related Sustainable Development Goals and WHO’s Triple Billion goal of one billion more people having universal health coverage, one billion more people being better protected from health crises, and one billion more people experiencing greater health and well-being.
On the 24th of May (10:00-12:00 CEST), a high-level segment featuring participation from Heads of State and Governments and distinguished guests, as well as an address by the WHO Director-General, will take place.
The Assembly will be webcast live with interpretation in the WHO’s six official languages. Proceedings can be followed here.
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF NCD ALLIANCE