76th World Health Assembly Daily: Work continues to strengthen preparedness and response for health emergencies

AMTV/GENEVA, May 24 – Today at the World Health Assembly, delegates in Committee A concluded discussions on Item 14 and parts of Item 15, noting the reports under these items, voting on two proposals, and agreeing to defer another for later in the week.

The WHO Secretariat responded to comments and questions from delegates, observers and other organizations received over the past day. The Chief Scientist said work would continue to strengthen clinical trials in emergencies. WHO’s Executive Director of emergencies appreciated Member States’ support for WHO’s ongoing work in emergencies, and the recognition of the need to give the organization the resources it needs to continue. (WHO is currently responding to over 55 emergencies that have received official grading, 14 of which requiring support from all three levels of the organization). The Director-General said WHO would continue to work to align the various processes for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Delegates noted the following reports: one from the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme which reviews WHO’s work in emergencies annually, a regular report on the implementation of the International Health Regulations, WHO’s annual report on its work in emergencies, and its work on strengthening preparedness for and response to emergencies. The latter included a paper on strengthening the global architecture for health emergency preparedness, response and resilience (known by the acronym HEPR).

Delegates voted on two proposals related to the health emergency in Ukraine. The draft decision on “Health emergency in Ukraine and refugee-receiving and -hosting countries, stemming from the Russian Federation’s aggression” was adopted (80 yes, 9 no, 52 abstentions). The draft resolution on “Health emergency in and around Ukraine” was not adopted (62 no, 13 yes, 61 abstentions).

On the Global Health for Peace Initiative, delegates agreed to consider the item later in the Assembly, following informal consultations slated to continue.

In Committee B, delegates considered a report on “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” In a vote, they adopted the decision (76 yes, 13 no, 35 abstentions).

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