World Health Assembly delegates on Wednesday agreed on an ambitious new strategic plan for the next five years.
The Organization’s 13th General Programme of Work (GPW) is designed to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – with a particular focus on SDG3: ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages by 2030.
It sets three targets: to ensure that by 2023, 1 billion more people benefit from universal health coverage; 1 billion more people are better protected from health emergencies; and 1 billion more people enjoy better health and wellbeing. WHO estimates that achieving this “triple billion” target could save 29 million lives.
Speaking to the Health Assembly, Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told delegates that the new strategic plan was ambitious because “it must be”.
Delegates noted that the Organization will need to make a number of strategic shifts in order to achieve these targets, notably to step up its public health leadership; focus on impact in countries; and ensure that people can access authoritative and strategic information on matters that affect people’s health.
The debate turns to WHO’s work in emergencies.
Over the coming days, delegates will make decisions relating to the International Health Regulations (2005), the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs); cholera, tuberculosis; snakebite; physical activity; digital health; assistive technology; polio virus; and health conditions in the occupied Palestine territory. The Health Assembly will also discuss other topics including: access to essential medicines and vaccine and women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health.