IAPB: The 72nd World Health Assembly – A decisive moment for the WHO, UHC and Eye Health

7 June 2019
Source: IAPB

Report: Jessica Crofts-Lawrence, Head of Policy and Advocacy, IAPB. IAPB logo

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is an annual gathering of all the world’s health ministers and a key opportunity for advocates to be seen and heard on their respective health issues. This year, the theme of the WHA was “Health for All” and as such there was a strong focus on closing the gap and leaving no one behind. It was set to be a significant WHA with a range of important internal and external questions for the World Health Organization (WHO) on the agenda. It was also my first time attending the WHA and I was looking forward to witnessing the enthusiasm and engagement from all those who champion health across the world.

This is also a decisive moment for the WHO. Over the last year, the organisation has undergone some of the most wide-ranging reforms in its history. At the heart of these reforms is Tedros’ favourite new buzz word: IMPACT. The intention is to break away from historical silos and make the WHO more agile, diverse and less bureaucratic in order to deliver real results for real people. The new budget supporting Tedros’ ambitious plan got the green light from Member States at the WHA. Now only time will tell whether the reforms will result in a true transformational shift for the organisation rather than a simple staff reshuffle.

Finally, and continuing this theme of decisive moments – the same is true for eye health. It is essential that we as a sector harness this political will to achieve UHC and ensure that eye health is integrated into the UHC framework. As you might expect, IAPB’s engagement at the WHA centred around the upcoming launch of the World Report on Vision and how we can obtain a global commitment to prioritise, scale-up and integrate comprehensive eye care services.

Read the full report on the IAPB website


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