Shot@Life Director, Martha Rebour, gives an inside look at the World Health Assembly.
It was an exciting week in Geneva at the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA).
Immunization played a big role. There was an endorsement of a resolution to strengthen immunization and a technical side briefing was held to discuss key issues to accelerate progress towards the goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).
The Health Assembly adopted a resolution on strengthening immunization to achieve the Global Vaccine Action Plan goals. The resolution urges Member States to strengthen the governance and leadership of national immunization programs, and improve monitoring and surveillance systems to ensure up-to-date data policy and programmatic decisions to optimize performance and impact. The delegates welcomed the GVAP assessment report and commended the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization for their recommendations. The Secretariat will report back in 2020 and 2022 on the achievements against the 2020 GVAP goals and targets. To read the full resolution, click here. To read the WHA discussion on the GVAP report, click here.
There was great turnout for the immunization technical briefing – Reaching Everyone, Everywhere with Lifesaving Vaccines – with about 250 participants in attendance. It provided an opportunity for delegates to share experiences to better understand some of the challenges and bottlenecks to achieving the GVAP goals, learn lessons from the successes seen in some regions and countries, and see how we can build on these successes to get back on track. Click here for more details on the briefing.
Other highlights included progress to end polio as delegates welcomed efforts to plan for a post-polio world and requested that the Director-General consider polio transition planning an urgent organizational priority, highlighting the need to ensure that polio transition needs are fully incorporated into the development of the next WHO budget and planning cycle.
Lastly, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as the new Director-General of WHO and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017. Dr. Tedros Adhanom has continually pushed for progress of global childhood immunizations, stating that, “We must be vigilant to curb reversal of gains in immunization coverage. A staggering 1 in 5 children are missing routine, lifesaving immunizations.” Click here to read the news release on the election.