[Ip-health] MSF intervention on WHO reform at 66th World Health Assembly

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Wed May 22 09:52:13 PDT 2013

Intervention by Medecins Sans Frontieres by Manica Balasegaram (Executive
Director of the Access Campaign)

Agenda Item 11 - WHO Reform


Thank you chair,

The question of reform of WHO has been the subject of numerous discussions
and papers since 2011.

Médecins Sans Frontières appreciates the need for reform to make the agency
a more effective institution that serves the interests of all Member States
in their efforts to pursue the highest attainable standard of health.

When pursuing the reform agenda, Member States should ensure they safeguard
the four core functions of the WHO.  These, in MSF's perspective, are:

 Firstly:  Acting as the directing and coordinating authority on
international health work and its governance and providing leadership on
matters critical to health and health security;

 Secondly: Setting norms and standards, and articulating policy options in
a manner that is evidence-based and independent of conflicts of interest;

 Thirdly: Supporting countries on the one hand, by catalysing
evidence-based change, and providing technical support; and holding them to
account on the other, by ensuring guidelines, norms,  standards and
resolutions are implemented, and ensuring a focus on health effects in
trade or other international agreements;

 And finally: Stimulating priority medical research and ensuring broad
access to the fruits of research.

We call on Member States and the Director-General to ensure that WHO
continues to be the directing and coordinating authority on international
health work. It is of critical importance to strengthen and protect WHO's
ability to play this role throughout the process of reform.

The question of financing is, in that sense, the key to successful reform
and must be kept at the centre of all discussions.  Adequate, regular
budget support must be secured for the aforementioned core functions.

Predictable and adequate financing can ensure that WHO can fulfil its
mandate as the world’s leading global health body through evidence-based
policy that is free from outside pressure.

Thank you.

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