With “unprecedented solidarity”, the World Health Assembly adopted a “landmark resolution” on Tuesday, which sets out a “clear roadmap” of the actions needed to sustain and accelerate the COVID-19 response at both national and international levels, the UN health agency chief told a press briefing on Wednesday, the day after the meeting concluded.
“It assigns responsibilities for both the WHO [World Health Organization] and its member States, and captures the comprehensive whole of government and whole of society approach we have been calling for since the beginning of the outbreak”, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“If implemented, this would ensure a more coherent, coordinated and fairer response that saves both lives and livelihoods”.
Among other things, the resolution underlines WHO’s key role in promoting access to safe, effective health technologies to fight the pandemic.
It also lifts barriers to effective vaccines, medicines and other health products.
“We call on all countries to join this initiative”, he asserted.
Tough road ahead
There is still a long way to go in battling the pandemic, according to Tedros.
He pointed out that in the last 24 hours, WHO had received reports of 106,000 cases, “the most in a single day since the outbreak began”, with nearly two-thirds in just four countries.
“We’re very concerned about the rising numbers of cases in low and middle-income countries”, flagged the WHO chief.
He relayed that in the World Health Assembly, Governments outlined that their primary goal was to suppress coronavirus transmission, save lives and restore livelihoods.
In battling COVID-19, WHO underscores the importance of ensuring that health systems continue to function with all essential services, including child immunization.
Invest in health
Closing on a note of hope, Mr. Ghebreyesus recalled that what it is hoped will be the last person treated for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) epidemic, recovered and was discharged on 14 May.
“On that day, the DRC Ministry of Health announced the beginning of the 42-day countdown to the end of the outbreak”, he said. “We now have 36 days to go but new cases could still emerge, as we have seen before”.
According to the Director-General, the pandemic has taught and informed many lessons, including that “health is not a cost; it’s an investment”.
“To live in a secure world, guaranteeing quality health for all is not just the right choice; it’s the smart choice”, concluded the WHO chief.
World Health Assembly resolution
- Places a global priority on the fair distribution of all quality essential health technologies required to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Harnesses relevant international treaties where needed, including the provisions of the TRIPS agreement.
- Classifies COVID-19 vaccines as a global public good for health in order to bring the pandemic to an end.
- Promotes the collaboration of both private sector and government-funded research and development, including open innovation across all relevant domains.
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