Global Health NOW at #WHA71

The Palais des Nations: The main UN building in Geneva, Switzerland on December 6, 2012.
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The Palais des Nations: The main UN building in Geneva and site of the World Health Assembly. Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s Geneva’s annual rite of late spring: 4000 global health leaders and experts arrive in the third week of May for the World Health Assembly, the “supreme decision-making body for WHO.”

This year, Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hosts his inaugural WHA. His priority: Universal health coverage. Delegates and leaders and staff of NGOs will be pushing their own agendas across a broad spectrum of issues. Global Health NOW is there to cover the speeches, the decisions, the arguments and the fun of the 71st World Health Assembly.

Check back daily for breaking news, starting on opening day, Monday, May 21.

May 29

Loyce Pace on a "Powerful" Week in Geneva

As the 71st World Health Assembly began to wind down last week in Geneva, Loyce Pace (below) surveyed a “packed and powerful” week and saw the potential for a new era for the WHO. The Global Health Council president and executive director found reasons for optimism in a new focus on partnerships by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

May 25

Alex Azar’s Excellent UHC Adventure
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar brought a crystal clear Trump Administration message of improving health care and access by relying more on the private sector, while global health experts who spoke after him emphasized more collaborative, public efforts.

Kwanele Asante: “It's Our Lives That Are At Stake”
Asante, a South African lawyer and bioethicist, wants the millions of other people worldwide with NCDs to get the kind of quality care she receives. “I don't want to feel this discomfort of knowing that I have access to privileged health care in a developing world context and the majority of my compatriots don't have the same access,” she said in a Thursday interview following a side event on universal health care.

May 24

Ready For The Next Outbreak? Let’s See Your Number
The Global Health Security Index project, which debuted at a #WHA71 side event, aims to give countries a quick take on where they stand in terms of readiness for disease outbreaks—and ideally where they need to improve.

5 Trans Fat Takeaways from #WHA71
WHO assistant Director-General Svetlana Akselrod corralled a group of health ministers to build support for the WHO's major international push to remove trans fats from foods; read how the Danes led the way, Argentines are catching up fast, and more.

Back To The Circus: Loyce Pace On The Value Of The World Health Assembly
Between meetings and leading events, the president and executive director of the Global Health Council paused to share her thoughts with GHN on US involvement in global health, universal health coverage and why the WHA is relevant: "It’s still the people getting together and trying to solve health problems."

May 23

Ebola in DRC: The Next Few Weeks Are Critical
As DRC's Ebola outbreak worsens, WHO’s Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama warned, “We’re on the epidemiological knife edge of this response."

Getting Local With Clinical Research Capacity
Microbes remain on the warpath, and to keep up, the world needs to invest more resources in developing the research capacity of low- and middle-income countries, Rwandan Sen. Richard Sezibera said at a World Health Assembly side-event yesterday.

May 22

The Local Path to Global Health Security
With infectious disease outbreaks seemingly increasing in magnitude, Peter Sands, The Global Fund executive director, set out an ominous challenge at a Monday side event of the World Health Assembly.

NCDs Are Ready For Their Close-Up 
Noncommunicable diseases are enjoying a bit of a moment at the WHA. GHN caught up with Kelly Henning, MD, who directs public health efforts for Bloomberg Philanthropies, to discuss investment for NCD programs, goals for the lead-up to the high-level meeting, and her other priorities for the WHA.

May 21

Tedros Makes His Case for a Transformed WHO
In today’s opening of the 71st World Health Assembly, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusclearly wanting to be seen as righting a ship that has been hobbled by insufficient resources and a lack of confidence from member statesmade the case for WHO’s relevance and for delegates to invest in WHO.

WHO’s Different Calculus on NCDs: Saving Lives… and Money
Repeatedly citing NCD mortality data doesn’t seem to resonate with government leaders, so new WHO report on NCDs released here yesterday tries a difference calculus, making the case that governments can't afford not to invest in NCDs.

May 18

DRC’s Ebola Outbreak Not An International Emergency—Yet, Says WHO
The WHO decided Friday that the latest Ebola outbreak is not an international emergency, even as the organization ramped up its response and worries grew as the first confirmed case appeared in a major city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

May 14

8 Things to Watch at This Year’s World Health Assembly—#WHA71
GHN kicks off #WHA71 with a look-ahead article that predicts the big issues and happenings to watch from this year’s slimmed-down event to snakebite, the heads of state expected to grace the Palais and the decision on WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work—its 5-year strategic plan.


Want to share a #WHA71 tip or a story idea? Want to connect with GHN editor-in-chief Brian Simpson in Geneva? Please be in touch.

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