Giving Compass' Take:

• The World Health Organization plans to focus on preventative health solutions as well as tech innovation to help address global health problems. 

• How can donors be a part of this new vision for global health? 

• Read about the relationship between poor health and education status. 

The World Health Organization unveiled a landmark reform on Wednesday that targets billions of people around the globe and puts a stress on primary care for all rather than “moonshot” projects like eradicating diseases.

The reform firmly reshapes the Geneva-based U.N. health agency with the manifesto of its Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian who is the first African in the job. He was elected in 2017 promising to focus on “universal health coverage” (UHC).

His back-to-basics approach won fervent support among health ministers, partly reflecting the WHO’s failure in 2014 to seize on what became the world’s worst Ebola outbreak, and the fact that many of the 11,300 deaths in that outbreak would have been prevented by better primary healthcare in West Africa.

The WHO has a five-year “triple billion” target, with one billion more people benefiting from UHC, one billion more people better protected from health emergencies, and one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.

Alongside this ambition to cast a huge global net, there will be a new chief scientist role, reflecting the WHO’s determination to be ahead of the curve on frontier technologies such as gene editing, and to ensure its member countries are first to benefit from research and innovation.

The agency will also focus more on “digital health”, using text messages to spread messages about vaccination and smartphone applications to help people manage and monitor their health.

Read the full article about WHO reforms by Tom Miles at Reuters