by TIM REED, Executive Director
Health Action International’s largest-ever team to the 68th World Health Assembly enjoyed a fruitful week of advocacy, which resulted in some major achievements, particularly related to antimicrobial resistance and World Health Organization (WHO) engagement with non-state actors. The annual Assembly was held in Geneva from 18-26 May.
The delegation was comprised of 39 insightful and talented people from ReAct–Action on Antibiotic Resistance, Knowledge Ecology International, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network, BUKO Pharma-Kampagne and Health Action International Asia Pacific and Amsterdam office. Together, we delivered a total of seven interventions on agenda items that are important to our mission of access to essential medicines and rational use:
Global burden of epilepsy and need for a coordinated action at the country level to address its health, social and public knowledge implications
Intervention by Health Action International
Follow-up to the 2014 high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases
Intervention by Health Action International, Knowledge Ecology International and Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network
Dengue: prevention and control
Intervention by Health Action International and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
Intervention by Health Action International and ReAct–Action on Antibiotic Resistance
Framework of engagement with non-State actors
Intervention by Health Action International and Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network
Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination
Intervention by Health Action International and Knowledge Ecology International
Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property
Intervention by Health Action International, Knowledge Ecology International and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
WHO member states adopted a number of resolutions during the Assembly. Notably, the Resolution on Antimicrobial Resistance was passed, which enacted the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. Member states must now develop national action plans to combat this escalating health issue. To help with this difficult task, the United Kingdom announced that it will contribute £3 million to the World Health Organization to help low- and middle-income countries develop plans. Earlier in the week, the United Kingdom also announced the establishment of the £195 million Fleming Fund, which, over five years, will expand the capacity of laboratories and surveillance networks.
The Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) was sent to an open-ended intergovernmental meeting to be finalised and submitted to the next World Health Assembly (WHA 69) through the Executive Board 138 in January. Sadly, the global health community still has much work to do on FENSA if we are to protect public health policy from the relentless corporate capture that pervades the international health agenda.
In addition to a vocal presence in the committee rooms, Health Action International co-sponsored a meeting on the impacts of trade and investment agreements on health, which you can watch here.
A BIG thank you to our hard-working network partners on the delegation. We’re looking forward to next year already.