66th World Health Assembly – Day 2

Breakfast at 6:30 is something one simply doesn’t like, but in WHA that is exactly how it works. The sun was still rising when the first delegates left to the UN Office in Geneva for another full, tiring but exciting day at the centre of decision making: the WHA.

Whilst logistics were being sorted, documents printed, task distributed, and agenda organised, some delegates attended a breakfast on Post 2015 Consultation on Global Health and Diplomacy, at the Intercontinental Hotel. With the presence of minsters of health from the all over the world and WHO ambassadors, the purpose was top advance on discussion around the post-MDG development framework, broaden the discussion of the post-MDG framework to include the diplomatic community, private sector, academics, other private donors in global health and other development stakeholders as part of an on-going consultative process, and begin to outline the health-related principles and goals for a post-MDG development framework.

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Post 2015 Consultation on Global Health and Diplomacy

Back at the WHA, a short debrief was the point of start of the day. While discussion in the Assembly Hall continued on NCDs, Committee A discussed the programme and budget matters. This was followed by the main subject of the day: the WHO Reform. Member States gave their input on the main changes that should take place within WHO, and Renzo had the opportunity to address the delegates on the importance of Youth engagement on the decision making processes.

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Day 2 – Morning Delegation Debriefing 

Some of our delegates then headed to a luncheon seminar organised by the World Medical Association addressing the “Low Level of Immunization Rates among Health Care Professionals”. Dr. Cecil Wilson, President of WMA, explained that flu, commonly regarded as harmless infection that everyone gets, is in fact a global health threat that causes around 500,000 deaths every year. The importance of immunising physicians was the main idea of the speech, as this represents a standard of quality care.

Meanwhile, other meetings kept taking place and our delegation was distributed in order to attend as many different discussions as possible. Autism spectrum disorders, the ePORTUGUESe Programme under South-South cooperation, antibiotic resistance as a threat to global health security, and effectively countering the NCD epidemic were the topics under debate. These sessions are an amazing experience as delegates get both the chance to enrich their own knowledge on so interesting matters, but also the opportunity to chase, speak, discuss and learn with monsters, ambassadors and NGO representatives.

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ePORTUGUESe Programme under South-South cooperation meeting

The awaited 10 minutes to grab a sandwich and get a coffee eventually happened, but everyone had to rush as Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, would soon start his speech, during the fifth plenary session of the WHA. Dr. Kim’s main points were that healthcare financing reforms should be universal, transforming healthcare, not only at a tertiary level. Social justice was defined as essential and the need of concrete plans and metrics for outcomes of Alma-Ata Declaration was emphasised. According to Dr. Kim, access, quality and affordability should be the ground rules of universal healthcare. As main goal, we should strike on ending absolute poverty by 2030: all citizens need, deserve and have the right to access quality affordable healthcare. Together with this, closing the coverage gap in the 40% poorest countries by building capacities and reducing economic inequality through employment should be a priority. Finally, Dr. Kim defined 5 specific areas that the World Bank will support: health systems, millennium development goals 4 and 5, strengthening the measurement of work done related to UHC, the science delivery, and the improvement on capacity for sanitation and women empowerment. This amazing speech ended with the idea that we have to demand the end of the deadly fragmentation that has hindered our health systems for so long. “We must be the generation that delivers Universal Health Care”.

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World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim Speech

The delegation then had the chance to meet, with enough time to make a full debrief and update on main points. Evolution on policy briefs and interventions, update on which delegations have been addressed, and organisation of the following meetings and events were all done.

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Day 2 – Afternoon Delegation Debriefing 

This happened quickly enough to head to a meeting under the tittle “From global declarations to local actions: health promotion beyond 2015”, organised by the Alliance for Health Promotion-A4HP jointly with the Regional Psycosocial Support Initiative – REPSSI, South Africa. After two speeches on social determinants of health and health promotion, and Psyco-social support implementation at regional and country level, Roopa was invited to make a presentation on medical education and health promotion beyond 2015. It was extremely motivational for all of us to see the audience’s interest on youth’s opinion and there desire to commit on engaging youth within decision making processes. The presentations were followed by an informal networking event offered by the Alliance for Health Promotion-A4HP. We are very happy to have received the invitation for this event, and to have had the chance to continue advocating on youth engagement among the participants.

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IFMSA President Dr. Roopa Dhatt presentation at “From global declarations to local actions: health promotion beyond 2015” meeting

The day closed with one more round of meetings: the pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity of Uganda, securing health and development through scaling up nutrition, strengthening pharma-vigilance for better regulatory functions in low- and middle-income countries, and an update on Influenza A situation were the issues addressed.

Finally gathered again at the Hostel, everyone had the opportunity to chill and work at the same time. Delegates are starting to feel tired, but motivation is huge, and striking on the goal of engaging youth at the decision making center that WHO is, is indeed the goal that will, in a couple of hours, wake up each and everyone of us.

Pedro Correia de Miranda

PorMSIC – Portuguese Medical Student International Committee

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