World Health Assembly (WHA) Meeting
19 to 22 May, 2018
Dr the Hon Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Health and Quality of Life led a delegation to represent the country at the World Health Assembly meeting from 19 to 22 May, 2018.
On the margin of the WHA meeting, the delegation of our country took part on 19 May, 2018 at ECSA Ministers of Health meeting. The Minister of Health of Uganda was elected as the Chairperson of ECSA. The overall Action Plan of ECSA comprising training, capacity building and mutual assistance for improvement of health was adopted.
On 20 May, 2018, the High level Commonwealth Health Minister's Conference was held. Discussions took place on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Non-Communicable Disease (NCD). Hon A Husnoo intervened to point out that following the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Survey held in 2015, prevalence of diabetes had stabilized at 22.8%. NCD Clinics had been put up at different Regional Hospitals. With decentralization of Health Service, measures were being taken to attend to patients within reach of their residence. It meets the objective of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to provide for equity in access to Health Services wherever and whenever needed. With assistance of World Health Organisation (WHO) an important exercise for assessment of NCD programme is being undertaken. As a result of the assessment exercise, our country will play an important role model for progress achieved to curb NCD.
The Plenary Session of the World Health Assembly opened on 21 May, 2018 with the election of the President if the session. The Minister of Health of Zimbabwe was chosen to chair the WHA session of 2018.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO gave an address at the WHA session. He announced the holding of 2 important meetings, namely:-
i. The High level Meeting on Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) in New York; and
ii. The high level meeting on Tuberculosis (TB)
He brought out that there will be concertation and consultation to transform WHO to better serve the exigencies in the field of Health.
It must be brought out that the theme chosen for the World Health Assembly session was "Health for All: Commit to Universal Health Coverage (UHC)." The Minister of Health and Quality of Life of our country had the opportunity to intervene at the Plenary session of 22 May, 2018. Confirmation was given that our Government with its policy of free Health Care adhered to the principle of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In recent years the world has seen a rise in Non-Communicable Disease (NCD). There is growing concern worldwide about the problem of NCD. With the support and collaboration of stakeholders, a multi-disciplinary approach in relation to healthy diet, healthy life-style, prevention, sensitization is being adopted to curb the problem of Non-Communicable Disease. In view of resistance to anti-biotic, with WHO Technical Assistance a comprehensive Anti-Microbial Resistance Action Plan has been developed to lead to one health approach. The initiative adopted by WHO to have recourse to pooled procurement medicine strategy was endorsed to ease access to medicine and vaccine to lead to reduction in cost and contribute towards lowering of disease burden for alleviating suffering of patients. The WHO was informed that to address the problem of drug trafficking and drug addiction, a High Level HIV and Drug Advisory Council chaired by the Prime Minister had been set up. It signified high level commitment to do everything to address the harmful drug problem. The opportunity was taken to express our thanks for the assistance and support of WHO to achieve better health for our population.
Our Minister took part in a Ministerial Meeting on the Special Initiative for the SID Member countries to address the problem of Climate Change and Health. Following the WHO Global Conference on Health and Climate Change for SIDS Group of Africa and South East Asia Region held in Mauritius from 21 to 22 March, 2018, our Minister reported at the important SIDS meeting, an innovative forward looking Action Plan had been elaborated. Proposals were made for adoption of concrete steps for empowerment to support health leadership at level of SIDS. It was necessary to make provision for systematic evidence to attract investment for funding. There was need for preparedness for climate risk and sustain health promoting mitigation and it was important to mobilise resource to facilitate access to Climate and Health Finance. A recommendation was made for setting up of a Special Fund for SIDS Group to cope with Climate Change and Health. Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus marked his presence at the meeting and announced that particular attention will be devoted to the fate of the SIDS member states in view of their vulnerability to Climate Change.
On the sideline of the WHA meeting, arrangements were made to take part in a meeting organised by Les Entreprises du Medicament (LEEM) in collaboration with Organisation Internationale de la Francophone. The Secretary General of OIF and Mrs Agnes Buzyn, French Minister of Health were present at the meeting. It was a meeting to develop solidarity to cope with the emergence of Anti-Microbial Resistance to ensure judicious use of anti-biotic for prevention and control of infections.
A fruitful meeting was held with representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Established in 1957 as an autonomous organisation under the United Nations (UN), the IAEA has made huge contribution to human well-being and to save millions of lives. The IAEA has played an increasing role in both the diagnosis and treatment of major non-communicable disease including cancer and heart diseases. Following discussion, assistance of IAEA would be extended in relation to medical imaging, radiotherapy facility to cope with rise in problem of cancer especially with the setting of a new Cancer Centre.
Participation at the WHA meeting has been beneficial to voice out to the international community the fragile, vulnerable situation of SIDS member states to the vagaries of climate change and also to develop important network with international institutions to obtain assistance for improvement of quality care.
We display below the snaps of important events at the recent WHA meeting.
30 May, 2018 Ministry of Health and Quality of Life