[Ip-health] HAI statement 73th World Health Assembly (WHA)

Jaume Vidal jaume at haiweb.org
Mon May 18 03:51:01 PDT 2020

Agenda Item:
- Written statements exceptionally considered under provisional agenda item 3 Address by WHO Director-General devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic response in advance of the opening of the Health Assembly
Stichting Health Action International welcomes the opportunity to address this World Health Assembly (WHA) which offers the best hope for an effective multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud the technical expertise, convening power and leadership of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and commend the collaboration of most Member States in sharing epidemiological data and other relevant information to counter the progression of the disease.
We believe the stewardship of WHO should be explicitly acknowledged by all stakeholders and concerned parties. Indeed, we are encouraged by initiatives such as the ACT, to bring stakeholders together with a shared agenda to develop diagnostics, vaccines, but, crucially, it must make medicines available to all, under the guidance of WHO. While we acknowledge the role played by some Member States and institutions, including UNITAID and PAHO, we remain concerned about the lack of space and recognition granted to civil society. The fight against COVID19, as other in other public health emergencies and endeavours, will not be effective without the contribution of civil society.
We strongly support the proposal of Costa Rica that WHO establish a COVID-19 technology pool. Such a pool will facilitate the sharing and transfer of knowledge and data crucial for the development of the tools to stop, contain and reverse the current pandemic. Looking forward, we hope it will be a model for future challenges and reinforce global health security. We urge governments and actors in all sectors to engage with WHO to establish a structure that guarantees access to global public goods without delay, to everyone, everywhere. The "business as usual' approach, of market exclusivities, opacity, and market-driven R&D will not counter the current crisis and only exacerbate inequalities in access to medicines. We remain, as ever, willing to be part of the solution, as a legitimate global actor.

Senior Policy Advisor, European Projects
Health Action International
During the Coronavirus emergency
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