Speaking at the 75th World Health Assembly on 24 May 2022, Senior Policy Advisor Jaume Vidal made the following statement on behalf of Health Action International on strengthening WHO preparedness for and response to health emergencies:
We welcome the intentions expressed by the Secretariat and specific steps taken by Member States to support WHO’s response to pandemics and other health emergencies in a timely and decisive manner. Without question, COVID-19 has shown us the leadership gaps and lack of international solidarity that has led to the prolongation of the pandemic and unnecessary deaths.
Regarding the proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR), we welcome the shortened deadlines for WHO provision of technical support in health emergencies but encourage consistency of this initiative with the work of the Working Group on Pandemic Response and the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on drafting an international instrument to prepare for the next pandemic.
We salute the fact that this WHA is poised to take action on the clinical trial integrity, a critical issue in pandemic response that is too often overlooked. WHO action on clinical trials should be guided by the principle of transparency of all results, with the support of both public and private stakeholders. Only accessible, reliable and valid research can bring about lasting solutions.
Lastly, we would like to call the attention of delegates to ongoing negotiations in other international bodies that may have serious consequences, not only for the fight against COVID-19, but perhaps more so for future health emergencies, as well as existing diseases.