Xinhua News Agency reporter Wang Qibing
The 76th World Health Assembly concluded on May 30 in Geneva, Switzerland. The 10-day meeting reached a number of important decisions and resolutions, approved the WHO budget from 2024 to 2025, and decided to increase the assessed contributions paid by member states by 20%.
At the 71st World Health Assembly, the WHO proposed a plan centered on the “three billion” goal to guide work from 2019 to 2023, that is, the population covered by universal health welfare will increase by 1 billion people, and the number of emergencies will increase by 1 billion. 1 billion more people are better protected and 1 billion more people have improved health during a health event. At present, the progress of the “three billion” goals has fallen far behind the plan, and it is urgent to strengthen efforts in the future.
The current World Health Assembly reached a number of important decisions and resolutions on the work of WHO, including strengthening the planning and delivery of high-quality emergency, intensive care and surgical care services, strengthening rehabilitation services in the health system, and updating guidelines on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. A list of “best buys” recommendations, extending the global action plan to promote the health of refugees and migrants to 2030, and more.
Other resolutions, decisions and strategies adopted by the Congress cover areas including infection prevention and control, strengthening of diagnostic capacity, maternal and child health, Aboriginal health, behavioral sciences, drowning prevention, food micronutrients, medical oxygen, primary health care and traditional medicine.
The current World Health Assembly also passed a resolution to support preparations for the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage to be held in September 2023.
The Assembly agreed to adopt “Achieving well-being: a global framework for integrating well-being into public health using a health promotion approach” and asked WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to report on the implementation of the framework from 2024. In order to promote the realization of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Tan Desai formulated this framework in accordance with the requirements of the 75th World Health Assembly. The framework focuses on six key strategic directions, namely universal health coverage, a fair economy, protecting the planet, social protection systems, digital systems for health, and measuring and monitoring well-being in life.
In addition, the current General Assembly approved a total of US$6.83 billion for the WHO’s 2024-2025 budget, of which the assessed contributions paid by member states have increased by 20% “historically”. Funding the budget is critical to ensuring the “triple billion” goal is met, the WHO said. The budget for the next two years will be allocated to polio eradication, emergency operations and appeals, in addition to areas related to the “triple billion” goal.
Roundtables held at the conference discussed a range of pressing public health challenges, including pandemic preparedness and response, climate change and health, tuberculosis control, strengthening essential immunizations, and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, among others.
Before the convening of this conference, the WHO announced on May 5 that the new crown epidemic no longer constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern”. Delegates at the meeting called for lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen global preparedness and response to public health emergencies. In his closing speech, Tan Desai said that the ongoing negotiations on the global agreement on the pandemic and the amendments to the International Health Regulations provide an unprecedented opportunity for people to learn from the mistakes of the new crown pandemic and ensure that they are not repeated.
[Responsible editor: Liu Yang]