The 69th session of the World Health Assembly

The 69th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) was convened from 23rd to 28th May 2016, bringing together around 3500 delegates from WHO’s 194 member states, including a large number of the World’ s Health Ministers and Health professionals. The main functions of the WHA are to determine the policies of WHO, supervise financial policies, review and approve the proposed program budget, set new goals and assign new tasks. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization opened the sixty-ninth World Health Assembly with words of celebration, warning and hope. The Health Assembly elected Dr. Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Saidi, Minister of Public Health of Oman as its new President and the five Vice-Presidents were appointed from Armenia, Chat, Malaysia, Panama and Timor-Leste. The Assembly discussed a total of 76 agenda items.

The Afghan Delegation was represented by Dr. Abdul Wali Ghayur, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Public Health, Mr. Azizullah Omar, Counsellor of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva, Dr. Mamosai Zewar, ICU Project Coordinator and Dr. Wahid Majrooh, Acting Director for International Relations of Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization at the opening ceremony called on countries to celebrate the recent progress in global public health, particularly in combating HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and polio, as well as in improving maternal and child health. Dr. Chan stated that commitment to Millennium Development Goals brought focus, energy, creative innovation and above all money to bear on some of the biggest health challenges that marked the start of the century. As the international community enters the era of sustainable development, the global health landscape is being shaped by three show-motion disasters: a changing climate, the failure of more and more mainstay antimicrobials and the raise of chronic noncommunicable disease as the leading killers worldwide. Talking about health treat, Dr. Chan added that we need to celebrate not only the wealth of achievements and lessons learned during the MDGs era, but also every victory that permanently eliminate a health threat.

During the session the member states agreed to one of the most profound transformations in the organization’s history, establishing a new Health Emergency Program to deliver rapid, predictable and comprehensive support to countries and communities in recovering from emergencies caused by any type of hazard to human health, whether disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters or conflict.

On the side-line of the 69th WHA, the Afghan Delegation attended  the Non-Aligned movement (NAM) and Economic Cooperation Organization(ECO) Ministerial meetings and held bilateral meetings with senior Representative from Global Fund, the partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Gavi Alliance, Medicine Sans Frontier, Polio Eradication Initiative with its other international stakeholders involved in Polio eradication projects in Afghanistan. Polio was among the important issues discussed in the committee A and the Afghan Delegation while updating the committee on the progress made, stated that the efforts of polio eradication in Afghanistan have been intensified significantly with the support of partners and leadership of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Dr. Ghayur mentioned that National and three regional Emergency Operation Centers in priority regions along with five Provincial Coordination Units in priority provinces have been established to lead day to day operation of Polio eradication efforts. Furthermore, 206 Permanent Transit Teams are deployed around inaccessible areas vaccinating more than 600,000 children every month.

The Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly was closed after approving new resolution on WHO’s framework for engagement with non-state Actors, the sustainable development goals, the International health regulations, tobacco control, road traffic deaths and injuries, nutrition, HIV, Hepatitis and STIs, Mycetoma, access to medicines and integrated health services.