C’bean health ministers attending WHO assembly

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GENEVA, Switzerland (CMC) — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) health ministers are attending the 71st World Health Assembly here discussing various public health issues and its effects on the global population.

The assembly, which has brought together delegations from the 194 member-states of the World Health Organisation (WHO), is taking place against the backdrop of a new outbreak of Ebola in central Africa.

During the assembly, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) said a range of issues will be discussed including, WHO’s work-plan for the next five years.

“This plan will ultimately seek to save 29 million lives by 2023 through a series of strategic actions designed to support countries in achieving the health targets of the ([United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” PAHO said.

The World Health Assembly will also discuss WHO’s role in health emergencies, polio, physical activity, vaccines, the global snakebite burden and rheumatic heart disease, among other issues.

PAHO said the Americas region will participate in the Assembly through their country delegations, as well as a delegation from PAHO, the regional office of WHO in the Americas, led by the director, Dr Carissa F Etienne.

The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of WHO.

We are transforming how we work to achieve our vision of a world in which health is a right for all. We are changing the way we do business… too many people are still dying of preventable diseases, too many people are being pushed into poverty to pay for health care out of their own pockets and too many people are unable to get the health services they need. This is unacceptable,” said WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“This is a pivotal health assembly. On the occasion of WHO’s 70th anniversary, we are celebrating seven decades of public health progress that have added 25 years to global life expectancy, saved millions of children’s lives, and made huge inroads into eradicating deadly diseases such as smallpox and, soon, polio,” said Ghebreyesus, who is attending his first Assembly following his election last year.

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