Update from #WHA72: Highlights from the First 3 Days

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1. Primary health care (PHC) is a critical foundation for universal health coverage

In his opening remarks to the World Health Assembly on Monday, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, reminded all of us that there cannot be health for all without primary health care. “Primary health care is where the battle for human health is won and lost,” Dr. Tedros said. Among other things, he highlighted the importance of strong PHC in preventing, detecting, and treating noncommunicable diseases; protecting children; and fighting the global surge in vaccine-preventable diseases. He also emphasized its role in ensuring that outbreaks can be detected and stopped before they become epidemics.

2. Strengthening quality midwifery education to ensure health for all

UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the International Confederation of Midwives launched Framework for Action: Strengthening Quality Midwifery Education for Universal Health Coverage 2030. It is a guide to developing high-quality, sustainable pre- and in-service midwifery education and training. It’s overarching goal is to ensure that midwives are better equipped with skills and knowledge to improve the quality of care they give and reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity.

3. Three historic resolutions on universal health coverage (UHC) passed

I) Primary health care towards UHC

This resolution recognizes the key role strong PHC plays in ensuring countries can provide the full range of health services a person needs throughout their life—be it disease prevention or treatment, rehabilitation or palliative care. It urges Member States to take measures to implement the Declaration of Astana, adopted at the 2018 Conference on Primary Health Care.

II) Community health workers delivering PHC

This resolution recognizes the contribution made by community health workers to achieving UHC, responding to health emergencies, and promoting healthier populations. It urges countries and partners to use WHO’s guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programs, and to allocate adequate resources.

III) UHC high-level meeting 

This resolution supports preparation for the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on UHC. It calls on Member States to accelerate progress towards UHC with a focus on poor, vulnerable, and marginalized individuals and groups.

Source and more details: World Health Assembly 72 Update

4. President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Health Workforce


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