World Health Assembly Events Series Kicks Off Thursday

Health Policy Watch is the media partner for the Geneva Graduate Institute – Global Health Centre series of World Health Assembly events, running Thursday 14 May to Wednesday 27 May.

The series of events is built around themes relevant to the 73rd session of the WHA, 18-19 May, the first ever Assembly to bring together the World Health Organization’s 194 member states in a virtual session, and focusing largely on a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-week series of virtual events will feature discussions on a range of critical global health issues such as the COVID-19 response, the role of civil society in global health governance, access to medicines and price transparency; women in the health workforce, as well as the political and commercial determinants of health.  The series, co-sponsored by the WHO, UN Foundation, the civil society movement UHC 2030, and others, brings together panels of scientists, public health professionals and policymakers from WHO, other UN agencies, and civil society.

See the full schedule and links for plugging in online below. Click the event titles for more information.

WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY OPEN BRIEFING

14 May, 15:00 The Global Health Centre and UN Foundation announce the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) Open Briefing for delegates, non-state actors, and the general public. This virtual event will introduce how the 73rd Assembly, the first ever to convene online, will work this year, with an update from WHO on the COVID-19 response. A diverse panel of experts will explore key issues emerging in the global response to the pandemic, including resource mobilization and financing, human rights and gender equality, and international cooperation for innovation and access to health technologies.

WALK THE TALK: THE HEALTH FOR ALL CHALLENGE 

17 May, 12:00 CEST | The third edition of the Walk the Talk will offer a global platform to promote well-being for people all over the world. This WHO virtual event will support ongoing efforts to promote ways for people to be healthy at home, and engage in activities that promote good physical and mental health, including healthy diets, hand washing and mental health awareness. People are invited to join in from their homes for a range of online activities (yoga, zumba, meditation and more) presented by athletes. All activities are meant to be enjoyed by all ages, all abilities, alone or with your families.  See More here.

IS SPACE CLOSING FOR CIVIL SOCIETY IN GLOBAL HEALTH?

19 May, 16:00 | With restrictions in many countries on nongovernmental organisations, and sweeping new laws coming into play in response to COVID-19, is space closing for civil society, journalists and other whistleblowers in global health? Who will speak for civil society in the COVID-19 response, and what role –if any– will they play in oversight of the billions to be spent? Do civil society activists on the boards of global health agencies act as a force for accountability, or does being at the table with powerful donors, governments and UN agencies limit what they say? Leading activists  will debate these questions.

EL SUSTO (THE SHOCK): THE POLITICAL AND COMMERCIAL DETERMINANTS OF TYPE 2 DIABETES

20 May, 15:00 | The online screening of El Susto, followed by a discussion with the film director and leading experts, will shed light on the factors that shape the epidemiology of type 2 diabetes. Mexico’s number one killer is not cartels, but type 2 diabetes. Medical textbooks speak of genetics, diet, obesity, lack of physical exercise as the causes, but what are the political and commercial determinants that shape mass lifestyle choices? We will share an online screening of this 75-minute film in advance of this webinar, jointly organised by the Global Health Centre and Saluteglobale.it.

TRANSPARENCY AND ACCESS TO MEDICINES: ONE YEAR AFTER THE WHA RESOLUTION

21 May, 15:00 | In May 2019, a milestone resolution on transparency in pharmaceutical markets was adopted by the 72nd World Health Assembly. One year later, this event will reflect on efforts to implement it at national level, challenges that have arisen and ongoing debates. How does transparency shape innovation and access to medicines and diagnostics? What is the relevance of transparency to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis? Panelists will address these questions from government, civil society, academic and industry perspectives, looking at both national and global levels.

MASKED HEROINES? BUILDING RESILIENCE BEGINS WITH A GENDER-EQUITABLE HEALTH WORKFORCE

Cropped shot of a group of surgeons performing a medical procedure in an operating room

22 May, 15:00 | The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the deep inequities that undermine global health, especially gender inequities impacting women front line health and care workers. In the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, few health and care workers (many of whom are women) have safe and decent working conditions, appropriate protection and equal and timely pay. How many decision makers in health systems are women? Do we collect sufficient data and evidence to understand the implications of COVID-19 on female health workers? Speakers in this session will share the perspectives of female health workers during this pandemic, and review lessons learnt from previous outbreaks.

TIME TO GET OUR ACT TOGETHER ON HEALTH SECURITY AND UHC

27 May, 14:00 | UHC2030 will launch its updated vision document for health systems strengthening, building on the recent statement from UHC2030 co-chairs which called on world leaders to remember their UHC commitments as they respond to COVID-19. This event proposes to stimulate discussion with stakeholders from across the UHC movement and beyond, immediately after the World Health Assembly, in order to leverage the momentum around the discussions among ministers of health.