69th World Health Assembly Closes, Delivers New Resolutions on Global Health
On May 23-28, 2016, delegations from all 194 World Health Organization (WHO) Member States convened in Geneva, Switzerland, for the sixty-ninth session of the World Health Assembly (WHA). Each year, this assembly determines declarations of the organization, supervises financial policies, and approves the proposed budget.
Since the WHO’s establishment 68 years ago, the WHA has convened annually to provide structural direction apropos the goals and priorities of the Member States. This member-driven structure allows the WHO to review previous years’ work, set new goals, and establish and assign future tasks.
This year’s session was record-setting, with over 3,400 in attendance and a huge scope of topics covered. The assembly addressed a wide span of global health challenges — the evolving threat of Zika virus, the UN’s newly adopted SDGs, the shortage of vaccines and medicines, and monitoring the wellbeing of migrants and refugees — to name only a few of the 76 items on the agenda.
Out of the myriad subjects reviewed, approvals were delivered on: WHO’s Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors; Sustainable Development Goals; International Health Regulations; tobacco control; road traffic deaths and injuries; nutrition; HIV, hepatitis and STIs; mycetoma; research and development; access to medicines and integrated health services. The WHO’s comprehensive summary on major agreements can be found here.
In addition, the WHO assemblage also evaluated several internal policies, from assessing the framework of engagement with non-government actors to beginning the process of electing the next Director General. These routine checks balance the roles and functionality of the organization in its goals of promoting wellness and responding to health crises worldwide.