The YHO delegation was present at the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) which took place in Geneva, Switzerland from 21 – 30 May 2023. This WHA was held under the theme “Saving lives, driving health for all,” commemorating the achievements of the past 75 years since the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO). While recognizing milestones such as smallpox eradication, increased life expectancy, and widespread vaccine access, the assembly’s primary focus remained on addressing health concerns that were overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dedicated to fulfilling the “triple billion targets” set by WHO in 2019, the assembly aspired to attain universal health coverage, health emergencies protection, and improved health for an additional one billion people by 2025. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, stressed the need for transformative change, considering the end of the global health emergency as an opportunity to glean lessons from pandemic challenges.
Over the course of the 10-day meeting, member states embraced resolutions and commitments spanning diverse health fields, encompassing pandemic prevention, polio eradication, universal health coverage, and infection control. Recognizing the shortcomings in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders emphasized the importance of preparedness for future pandemics and endorsed a new global pandemic accord. Dr. Tedros also advocated for amendments fortifying the International Health Regulations.
Immunization took center stage, with a focus on addressing challenges in COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and emphasizing the pivotal role of frontline health workers. The assembly committed to enhancing women’s health, concentrating on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescent Health, and tackling issues such as violence against women. Progress was achieved in preparing for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on universal health coverage, the approval of WHO’s expanded list of “NCD Best Buys” for countering noncommunicable diseases, and the endorsement of the inaugural global strategy on infection prevention and control. The Assembly supported the unique opportunity to eradicate wild poliovirus, deliberated on challenges in ending tuberculosis, and addressed the escalating threat of antimicrobial resistance.
In concluding remarks, Dr. Tedros underscored the generational opportunity to glean insights from the past, affirming that the generation experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic must seize the chance to institute enduring changes for the well-being of future generations.
The YHO delegation was present at different side events organized by different organizations, member states and other stakeholders, as well as got the chance to co-create some events with our partners. Our main goal was to gain new and the most up-to-date information regarding the new policies, frameworks and other work done by different organizations in the field of youth health.