WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
22nd May, 2023 International Relations
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- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the 76th Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Stressing for greater collaboration in healthcare, the Prime Minister highlighted the gaps in the global health architecture which were exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- He emphasized the need for a collective effort in building resilient global systems and boosting global health equity.
- PM informed that India shipped almost 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to over 100 countries including many countries from the Global South.
- Highlighting the benefits of traditional systems such as Yoga, Ayurveda and meditation, the Prime Minister explained that it addresses physical, mental and social aspects of health and expressed delight that WHO's first Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is being established in India.
- He touched upon the G20 theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ and said that India’s vision for good health is ‘One Earth One Health’.
- He emphasized that India’s vision is not restricted to just humans, but extends to the entire ecosystem including animals, plants and the environment.
About World Health Assembly (WHA)
- It is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states.
- It is the world's highest health policy-setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
- The members of the WHA generally meet every year in May in Geneva at the Palace of Nations, the location of WHO Headquarters.
- The main tasks of the WHA are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the WHO work programme and budget and elect its Director-General (every fifth year) and annually to elect ten members to renew part of its executive board.
- Its main functions are to determine the policies of the Organization, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
Members, observers and rules
- The original membership of the WHA, at the first assembly held in 1948, numbered 55 member states.
- The WHA has, currently, 194 member states (all UN members without Liechtenstein, plus the Cook Islands and Niue).
- Also WHA includes two associate members, Puerto Rico and Tokelau.
- In addition, seven agencies have observer status at the WHA – the Vatican, the Palestinian Authority, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the South Centre organization, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
- The Assembly is governed by Rules of Procedure of the World Health Assembly; agenda items are set by the General Committee of the Assembly, a group of 25 individuals that includes the President and subcommittee chairs, and a number of delegates elected by the Assembly previous.
- Each year, the WHA elects members from among its ranks to renew the executive board (EB).
- The EB must have an equitable geographic distribution, and shall be elected for three years and may be re-elected.
- The Board shall meet at least twice a year and shall determine the place of each meeting.
- The main international policy frameworks adopted through WHA resolutions include:
- International Health Regulations
- International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, adopted in 1981
- Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adopted in 2003
- Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, adopted in 2010
- The WHA is also responsible for the endorsement of the WHO Family of International Classifications, a series of internationally standardized medical classifications, including the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).
Q) Which of the following statements with reference to World Health Assembly is/are incorrect?
1. It is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed.
2. It is also responsible for the endorsement of the WHO Family of International Classifications.
Correct Answer: 4