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While the world’s elite gathered atop the snowy mountains of Davos, health ministers and other stakeholders spent a week in Geneva, hammering out the details of a number of global health priorities.
The meeting, set specifically for the World Health Organization Secretariat and executive board members to discuss the agenda for the annual World Health Assembly in May, tackled issues such as WHO’s next program of work, the future of polio, and the polarizing topic of access to medicines.
Here’s what to know from WHO’s weeklong 142nd executive board meeting.
- A step forward for WHO’s draft 13th general program of work. After a series of revisions, member states agreed to put forward WHO’s draft 13th general program of work for consideration at the 71st World Health Assembly in May.
- The heated debate around access to medicines. Some member states raised questions and disappointments on some elements of the WHO’s report on the topic, but in the end they agreed on a proposed decision point that asks the director-general to work on a roadmap report outlining WHO’s work on access to medicines and vaccines for the period 2019-2023.
- Preparations for NCDs and TB high-level meetings. In the run-up to the third high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases taking place in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, member states have expressed concerns on lack of significant investments in NCDs and challenges in implementing a multisectoral approach to address them.
- WHO’s emergency funds. A new report by the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee details WHO’s progress in implementing its health emergencies program, as well as areas for further improvement.
- Governance reform proposal. Director-General Tedros remarked on issues of WHO’s governing structure and how they are contributing to inefficiencies. During meetings of the board, member states often make lengthy, repetitive interventions, leaving few opportunities at times for real dialogue between the WHO Secretariat and member states.
Read the full Geneva deliberation roundup by Jenny Lei Ravelo at Devex.