Message From Elisha

April 24, 2024

The Global Health Council team just got a little bigger. In addition to appointing Amy Boldosser-Boesch as new Board Chair-elect, we welcomed four new Board members, expanding the Board to 17 members.

As an organization, we are dedicated to incorporating racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic equity into everything we do — and the Board is reflective of these values. For example, our four new members represent several sectors, including NGOs (Craig Molyneaux, Chief Operating Officer at EGPAF), the private sector (Hannah Cooper Klein, co-founder and CEO of Cooper/Smith), and frontline health workers: Dr. Amanuel Moges Haile is the founder of MELLA for Adolescent and Youth Health in Ethiopia, and Dr. Duha Ali founded two youth-led initiatives supporting women and girls in underserved communities in Sudan.

Equity is deeply woven into GHC’s programs and advocacy. At the end of last year, we established the Health Equity Working Group, comprised entirely of organizations from low- and middle-income countries. This working group helps to ensure that the health challenges of the most vulnerable are prioritized when global, national, and regional health decisions are being made.

Recently, we have been working to ensure that civil society organizations are able to obtain official relations status with the WHO. During this year’s WHO Executive Board meeting, Member States failed to approve the Secretariat’s recommended list of CSOs applying for official relation status, despite all the criteria having been met. While this is not the end of the discussion — a decision was made to continue the conversation in the lead-up to the World Health Assembly — it was extremely disappointing. It undermines the purpose of the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) and further demonstrates the shrinking space for civil society engagement at WHO. Earlier this month, GHC sent a sign-on letter with over 130 signatures from both NSAs and Non-NSAs/CSOs to the chairs of the WHO Programme, Budget and Administration Committee and the Executive Board. The letter was also forwarded to Dr. Tedros. We will continue to fight for Member States to evaluate the applications and uphold the recommendations of the Secretariat.

Our members are also an important part of our commitment to equity. You represent nearly every role within the global health ecosystem. Our community of advocates, including those who might not ordinarily have a seat at the table, are increasingly becoming key players in critical global health conversations. I am excited to see that continue and witness the impact it will have. Together, I believe we can make progress in achieving equity in global health.