Co-hosted by the Government of Poland and the Government of Sweden, in partnership with the European Council, and the European Commission Warsaw, Poland: WHO Director-General's remarks at the High-Level International Donors’ Conference for Ukraine - 5 May 2022
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75th World Health Assembly
22 -28 MAY 2022
Courtesy, United Nations / World Health Organization
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.
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VIEW MEDIA BRIEFINGS UPDATES at: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/media-resources/press-briefings
"Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Over the last week, COVID-19 cases have risen in four out of the six WHO regions.
Due to testing and sequencing reducing in many countries, it is increasingly difficult to know where the virus is and how it’s mutating.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has announced, through their state media, their first outbreak of COVID-19, with more than 1.4 million suspected cases since late April.
WHO is deeply concerned at the risk of further spread of COVID-19 in the country particularly because the population is unvaccinated and many have underlying conditions putting them at risk of severe disease and death.
We are also concerned about Eritrea, another country that has not started vaccinating its populations.
WHO have requested that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea share data and information. And WHO has offered to provide a package of technical support and supplies, included diagnostic tests, essential medicines, and vaccines ready to be deployed to the country.
After three years, I will be so glad to meet many health leaders face-to-face in Geneva on Sunday for the start of a critically important World Health Assembly.
There is a lot to discuss in health and there are a series of crises that are fundamentally stretching health workers, resources and systems to the limits, which risks lives, livelihoods and overarching security.
The pandemic will be discussed including how to end the emergency including increasing access to vaccines, antivirals and other lifesaving tools.
Last week, I welcomed President Biden’s announcement about the sharing of health technologies between the United States National Institutes of Health, WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool and the Medicines Patent Pool regarding the development of innovative therapeutics, early-stage vaccines and diagnostic tools for COVID-19.
As you know, equity is one of the key principles behind the proposed pandemic preparedness accord. During this pandemic we faced many challenges, including a lack of sharing information, a lack of sharing biological materials and a lack of sharing technology amongst others.
This hampered the response, cost lives and revealed the limitations of the global preparedness. For the world to respond quickly and more effectively at the next outbreak or pandemic, the world must prepare now.
At the World Health Assembly Special Session in November 2021, all Member States agreed that COVID-19 reflected the need for all countries to share information and strengthen systems more effectively together.
WHO’s job is to support countries – our Member States – as they negotiate and agree on an accord to commit to protecting future generations from pandemics.
Our mandate is 100% determined by Member States and what they agree.
The accord process is led by Member States with their own Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (called INB), representing all regions of the world.
The INB has now started a two-year process that includes global public hearings with all stakeholders.
This represents the world’s opportunity to plan together, detect pathogens quicker, share data broadly and collectively respond more effectively to the next diseases X or known pathogens.
Unfortunately, there has been a small minority of groups making misleading statements and purposefully distorting facts.
I want to be crystal clear. WHO’s agenda is public, open and transparent.
WHO stands strongly for individual rights.
We passionately support everyone’s right to health and we will do everything we can to ensure that that right is realized.
The first ever World Health Assembly, which took place soon after the WHO Constitution entered into force in 1948, was a watershed event in global public health.
And like the proposed pandemic preparedness accord, this did not mean WHO usurped nations’ sovereignty; in fact it strengthened countries’ ability to fight diseases together.
WHO is an expression of Member States' own sovereignty and WHO is entirely what the sovereign 194 Member States want WHO to be.
Every year, these sovereign governments come together at the World Health Assembly to set the health agenda for the world.
Individually we can’t beat pandemics; our best chance is together.
It was via the Assembly, in the last century, that the seeds of Smallpox eradication were sowed as countries agreed to work collective to consign the disease, Smallpox, to the history books.
In 1988, the Assembly agreed to focus on tackling polio. At the time there were 350,000 cases every year in more than 100 countries. Last year we saw the lowest number of cases of wild poliovirus with just two countries still endemic.
Many people have sight today exclusively because they received treatment for river blindness.
And because of increasing access to antiretrovirals, 15 countries have eliminated mother to child transmission of HIV/[AIDS] and syphilis.
All the achievements go back to that founding accord, which promoted the individual right to health and enshrined those rights in a collective responsibility to work together against deadly diseases.
The world faces serious challenges with disrupted ecosystems, new conflicts and the climate crisis.
And this convergence demands a collective response and an accord would be a critical element of that.
WHO is not just fighting COVID-19: There is an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an unknown hepatitis affecting children around the world and monkeypox affecting a number of countries.
WHO is working with national authorities to respond quickly and effectively to these outbreaks.
The last few years have taught us about our own collective fragility and the threat to economies and security of not working together.
The accord process is at the very beginning of a multiyear Member State-led negotiation, which will only be finalized in 2024 after multiple public hearings around the world. And all voices will be heard.
The essence of the proposed pandemic preparedness accord is to improve cooperation, coordination, and the sharing of data, information, biological materials and lifesaving tools. . . "
Read Full Text, WHO COVID-19 and Other Global Health briefing: 17 May 2022
2021 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan
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On the Frontlines of COVID-19 . . .
Let's All Support Global Health Workers
During this Global Health Emergency!
2021: Year of Health and Care Workers
Learn more on the following web page:
The World's Poorest . . . Must not be forgotten!
Detained children at ‘grave risk’ of contracting COVID-19 – UNICEF chief
Hundreds of thousands of children in detention around the world are at “grave risk” of contracting COVID-19, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday, calling for their urgent release.
Courtesy, United Nations / UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi
Two young [child] prisoners stand behind bars in a jail in Abomey, Benin
Children . . . Must not be forgotten!
Learn more on the following web pages:
is . . .
"A Global Crisis"
May 2022: Update . . .
The global excess mortality associated with COVID-19 was 14.91 million in the 24 months between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021, representing 9.49 million more deaths than those globally reported as directly attributable to COVID-19.
As Nations great and small progress through the year 2022, may the
of 2020 - 2021 be a guide toward
building back a better world
with the helpful ingenuity
of the whole . . .
"Family of Humanity."
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