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GHC’s Collective Voice Converges in Geneva for WHA70 
Last week the Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA70) concluded in Geneva, Switzerland. It was a whirlwind WHA with a WHO Director-General election, and several agenda items – from Health Systems to Communicable Diseases – addressed. Global Health Council (GHC) sent a robust delegation of 70 members to WHA70, representing multiple health priorities. Many of GHC’s WHA delegates took part in daily huddles, read statements to the Assembly, and partnered on side-events. Although these voices were diverse, they were united in celebrating the power of civil society. Check out some highlights from the blogs of our WHA delegates and advocates, or view the GHC WHA70 Storify.

Spotlight on the 141st Session of the WHO Executive Board
Following the recently concluded Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA70) in Geneva, Switzerland, members of the WHO Executive Board convened between June 1 – 2 to give effect to the decisions and resolutions reached at WHA70. A small group of GHC delegates attended the 141st WHO Executive Board Session (EB141), where they tracked and reported on some of the priority agenda items that were discussed. Agenda Item 6:1, Eradication of Malaria, generated conversations that took center stage at the meeting, with several member states pushing for increased efforts and integrated approaches to boost malaria prevention and control globally. Watch recordings of the full proceedings at the EB141 Session.

Explore Planetary Health with Child Family Health International 
Thanks to technological improvements and the use of planetary resources, human health has improved tremendously in recent decades, with great improvements in life expectancy, as well as maternal and infant health. Unprecedented environmental changes threaten to undermine this progress and jeopardize future generations. With a range of new planetary health programs and placements, Child Family Health International (CFHI) aims to foster education about planetary health, food waste reduction, diets with low environmental impact, efficient use of water, and ending deforestation. These programs are designed to equip participants with a better understanding of the intrinsic connection between the health of humans, health of animals, and the health of the ecosystem. To learn more about CFHI programs with planetary health themes.

A Call to Action for Gender Equality in Global Health Leadership
After a year of analysis and over 15 global dialogues, Women in Global Health (WGH) has identified a comprehensive list of commitments that the global health community, particularly at the organizational and institutional level, need to fulfill in order to achieve the goal of greater gender equity in global health leadership. Further, WGH is developing tools in partnership with key stakeholders to better facilitate the translation of these commitments to action. As a partner of Women in Global Health, under the Women Leaders in Global Health Initiative, GHC invites members of the global health community to join the movement to advance gender equity at all levels of global health leadership. Learn more.

Upcoming Workshop on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance 
The Forum on Microbial Threats will host a public workshop, “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: A One Health Approach to a Global Threat,” on June 20 – 21. The workshop will examine the key areas in human, animal, and environmental health that contribute to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance through a One Health approach, and present the complexities and potential strategies of bridging the different sectors and disciplines to counter this global threat. Workshop speakers and discussants will contribute perspectives from government, academia, private, and nonprofit sectors at the global, national, and local levels. This two-day workshop will be held at the Keck Center in Washington, DC. Please RSVP to join in-person or attend via webcast.

Global Health Council’s Collective Voice Converges in Geneva for WHA70

Last week the Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA70) concluded in Geneva, Switzerland. It was a whirlwind WHA with a WHO Director-General election, and several agenda items – from Health Systems to Communicable Diseases – addressed.

Global Health Council (GHC) sent a robust delegation of 70 members to WHA70, representing multiple health priorities. Many of GHC’s WHA delegates took part in daily huddles, read statements to the Assembly, and partnered on side-events. Although the delegation’s voices were diverse, they were united in celebrating the power of civil society.

Check out the highlights from the blogs of GHC’s WHA delegates and advocates below or peruse through GHC’s WHA70 Storify.

Heroines of Health: Celebrating Women in Global Health
by Women in Global Health

Global Health Security: Why Women Matter
Katherine C. Bond, U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)

Attacks on Healthcare, Where do We Stand One Year After the Adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2286?
by Len Rubenstein, 
Johns Hopkins Blomberg School of Public Health and Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition

The Power and Promise of Digital Health for Africa
by Lesley-Anne Long

Chronic Childhood Disease: A Personal, Local, and Global Struggle
by Elizabeth Montgomery Collins
, Individual GHC Member

Health in All Policies
by Terry L Schmidt DrHA MBA (MPH)
, Individual GHC Member

Why Investments in Frontline Health Workers Matter: Preventing Needless Deaths through Trusted Healthcare Relationships
by Samalie Kitooleko, Uganda Rheumatic Heart Disease Registry and Belinda Ngongo, Public Health Institute

The power and promise of digital health for Africa

This guest post was written by Lesley-Anne Long, the director of the new digital health initiative at PATH. PATH is a GHC member and was part of our WHA70 delegation.
African leaders commit to national digital health plans at World Health Assembly, could save billions of health care dollars by 2030.

Paper records will eventually be a thing of the past as countries across Africa implement national digital health strategies. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

Chronic Childhood Disease:  A Personal, Local, and Global Struggle

This guest post was written by Elizabeth Montgomery Collins, Individual GHC Member and WHA70 Delegate.

Imagine a job that makes demands on you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, without holidays or compensation—one, in fact, that requires you to pay—and one you can never quit.  Suffering from chronic disease is very much like such a job, said Weronika Kowalska, International Diabetes Federation Youth Advocate, at “Better Medicines for Children, a side event presented by NCD Child at the World Health Organization‘s 70th World Health Assembly (#WHA70) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Delegates discussing NCD work after the WHa70 side-event, “Better Medicines for Children,” at the Vieux Bois Restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland.

The work of managing a lifelong non-communicable disease (NCD) such as diabetes typically falls upon the child’s family.  For asthmatic children in Africa it might fall to siblings and extended family in their native village.  For children with kidney disease in Eastern Europe it might fall beyond the family to the medical staff of their local hospital.  But the challenges these caregivers face are similar:  to administer proper medications, organize frequent medical appointments, and inspire hope amid the never-ending toil of disease management.

As Flavia Batureine, nursing officer at Uganda Heart Institute pointed out at the event, meant to raise awareness of NCDs in children and adolescents, if a medical facility experiences a stockout, or a healthcare worker lacks syringes to administer the appropriate medications, then patients don’t truly have access to medicines.  Access requires both availability and the basic infrastructure to deliver the medicines to patients.  Batureine emphasized that “all of us need to advocate, because patients need a voice to speak to their governments to help them demand the services they need.”

Kate Armstrong, President of the Australian not-for-profit, Caring & Living As Neighbors (CLAN), which advocates for children living with chronic health conditions in resource-poor countries, reminds us that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #3, which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, encompasses all diseases, not just infectious ones.  She urges us all when discussing SDGs with government officials to “remember the children”.

Panelist Ms. Kowalska recalled that, despite the prohibitive cost of life-saving medicines, she can usually find a way to acquire her needed medications, unlike less fortunate young diabetics her age in poorly resourced countries.  She hopes that “every person around the world will have access to essential medicines”.  When children are denied meaningful access to critical medicines, they are restrained from meeting their full potential, so that their quality of life—and that of their caregivers, countrymen, and the global community generally—suffers.

At WHA70 non-communicable diseases will be debated as agenda item 15.  Other important agenda items include item 16, promoting health through the life course, and item 13, health systems, which will include (item 13.3) global access to medicines and vaccines.  The 70th WHA shared documents can be found at:  http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_wha70.html, and include:

  1. Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity: implementation plan
  1. Preparation for the Third High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, to be held in 2018- draft decision proposed by India and the United States of America
  2. Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, & Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030): adolescents’ health- Report by the Secretariat