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70th World Health Assembly opens in Geneva

Updated: 2017-05-25

The 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) convened on May 22 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Some 3,500 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States including a large proportion of the world’s health ministers are attending the Health Assembly, which ends on 31 May. They are currently debating ways to advance the 2030 agenda, focusing on building better systems for health.

Earlier in the day, the Health Assembly elected Professor Veronica Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, as its new President.

Over the remaining days delegates will approve the Organization’s program budget for 2018-19 and discuss a wide range of health-related issues. They will make decisions related to WHO’s response to health emergencies, the International Health Regulations, and pandemic influenza preparedness. Important discussions will take place related to polio, antimicrobial resistance, access to medicines and vaccines, the health of refugees and migrants, improving vector control, adolescent health and chemicals management. The Health Assembly will also examine non communicable diseases, including dementia and cancer, and review preparations for a UN General Assembly meeting on NCDs to be held in September 2018.

Member States will elect a new director-general, who will take office for a five-year term on 1 July 2017.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by all WHO Member States and focuses on a health agenda prepared by its executive board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of WHO, appoint the director-general, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget. The World Health Assembly meets annually in Geneva, Switzerland.



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