[LIVE] WHO’s World Health Assembly on May 18 and 19, 2020

Published by Julie M. · Published on 18 May 2020 at 13h57 · Updated on 20 May 2020 at 09h43
The World Health Organization is hosting the 73rd World Health Assembly for 10 days starting this Monday May 18, 2020. The heads of States keep this meeting, via videoconference on 2 days, and plan to address fair access to technologies, medications, and vaccines against coronavirus.

A meeting to follow “live” on WHO’s website or in English below:

This Tuesday, the 194 member countries, including the United States and China, have adopted a resolution planning "independent probe" on the response of UNO to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The meeting started at 2 p.m. with the election of a president and 5 vice-presidents. The president of this 73rd Assembly is Madam Ambassador Keva Bain from Bahamas.

The program will cover the following topics:

  • Opening of the Health Assembly by WHA 72 President
  • Election of the President and five Vice-Presidents
  • Presidential address
  • Statements by invited speakers
  • Address by the Director-General (on COVID-19 pandemic response)
  • Statements by Heads of delegation on COVID-19 pandemic
  • EB: election
  • Closure/suspension (The WHA will consider suspending and reconvening later in the year to consider the remaining items on the agenda)

The World Health Assembly (WHA) gathers every year since 1948 in Geneva, generally in May. The heads of States from WHO’s 194 member countries gather to talk about the Organization’s policy in terms of health and access to care across the world. Among its main functions, the Assembly names the director general, controls the Organization’s financial policy and examines and approves of the program’s budget plan.

This year, amid the coronavirus crisis, as other international institutions postponed the meeting of their supreme body, the World Health Organization sustains the 73rd WHA in videoconference on Monday May 18 and Tuesday May 19, 2020. On the menu, talks, the importance to give to all countries across the world fair access to technologies, medication, and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

As a matter of fact, the European Union offered a solution for the response to Covid-19 already uniting a hundred state members. WHO’s Chef de Cabinet doctor Bernhard Schwartländer adds that “the debate on the access to technologies and health products is more important than ever. This pandemic teaches us that unless everyone has the means to stay healthy, the virus will return, and we will face a second and third wave. This is why we launch a “call to action” for access to medical tools so that they can be available as soon as possible”.

He explains that to get rid of Covid-19 on a long-term basis and prevent it from reappearing in the poorest areas or where access to treatment is rare and from spreading across the world all over again, it is vital that each country can enjoy the same health coverage.

To generalize the access of all countries to diagnostic tests, medications, and later to vaccines as soon they are available, WHO members are said to work, on Tuesday May 19, 2020, on a solution that “demands universal, quick and fair access, and the fair distribution of all vital health products and technologies that are of quality, safe, effective and affordable, including their components and their precursors, necessary to respond to Covid-19, making it a world priority and the urgent elimination of unjustified obstacles to this access, respecting pertinent international treaties’ dispositions”.

Favorable to this proposition, German Velasquez, special councilor on the health policy at the Intergovernmental Organization of Developing Countries, also known as South Center, says that to be available everywhere at the same time, “medications, diagnostic tests, vaccines and other health products related to the pandemic must be considered as world’s public goods” before adding that “resolution should have been bolder”.

Since the global health crisis broke out, the OMS has provided material assistance to 135 countries with low or average income thanks to a consortium gathering UNO as well as some NGOs, sponsors and funding agencies. In concrete words, they take part in the purchase of private protection gear, diagnostic tests, and medical products.

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From 18 May 2020 to 19 May 2020

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