World Health Assembly convenes key stakeholders on global health initiatives

This year at the recent 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, the American Heart Association co-sponsored a side event at the Assembly on emergency care and trauma. The event was organized by delegations from Ethiopia, eSwatini, Malaysia, Saudi Arabi and South Africa. The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made opening remarks stressing the importance of emergency care and recognizing the American Heart Association’s support and contribution to this work.

Universal health coverage (UHC) and primary health care were hot topics at the Assembly. Just before the Assembly began, delegations from Member States, the private sector and civil society participated in walks, races and other physical activities, under the slogan "Walk the Talk: the Health for All Challenge."  These activities were organized for the second consecutive year by the World Health Organization (WHO), and brought together sports, celebrities and key stakeholders in community and health promotion initiatives around the world.

In his first plenary opening speech, Dr. Ghebreyesus highlighted the main achievements of WHO’s Program of Work the past year, the reform being undertaken at the WHO and the priorities that should guide countries’ discussions: health and political leadership, health partnerships and people-centered health care. Dr. Ghebreyesus also announced the appointment of four new WHO Goodwill Ambassadors.

Member States also adopted an Emergency Care and Trauma Resolution (72.31) calling for the development of policies for sustainable funding, governance and universal access to emergency care.
Other Highlights of the Assembly discussions included:

  • Health workforce issues, including progress on the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health, key principles on designing community health worker programs, and national reporting on international recruitment of health workers.  
  • The fight against tobacco industry interference in health policy with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control's secretariat reporting on the need(link opens in new window) for transparency.
  • The role national country strategies and policies can play in driving digital health for UHC and exploring sustainable business models and multi-stakeholder partnerships that can contribute to bringing digital health solutions to scale.