MOPH Participation in the 68th World Health Assembly in Geneva
The world has just concluded the 68th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva which took place at the Palais des Nations, between May 18 and 26. Lebanon was represented by two delegates from the Ministry of Public health this year, the Director General, Dr Walid Ammar, and the Head of Statistics Department, Ms Hilda Harb, in addition to the delegates who joined as usual from the Permanent Mission in Geneva, HE Ambassador Najla Ryachi Assaker, Mr Ahmad Arafa, and Ms Rana El Khoury. Lebanon actively participated in both committees A and B deliberations and many interventions were made on behalf of the Eastern Mediterranean Region and on behalf of Lebanon concerning important public health topics like the global vaccine action plan, health in the post 2015 agenda, progress report on the Millennium Development Goals, the 2014 progress report on Ebola, the maternal, infant, newborn nutrition indicators, ending childhood obesity, and International health regulations, and provided views on the program budget plan of WHO for 2016-2017 which was approved and was considered as part of the WHO reform. Dr Ammar represented the Eastern Mediterranean Region in the Strategic Budget Space Allocation Working Group. Lebanon’s endeavor to include political instability among the core indicators to assess countries’ needs was successful. This has contributed to significantly improve the EMRO share of the WHO budget. Moreover, this year, Lebanon, co-sponsored two resolutions, one on Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), and one on Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR), both of which were adopted. In addition, Lebanon co-organized a side event about health and well being in emergencies for which Dr Rabih Chammay, the Head of the Mental Health Program at the Ministry of Public Health delivered a speech about how has the health care system in Lebanon proven to be strong in providing effective interventions in time of emergencies.
Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director General, has used the words “Landmark resolutions and decisions” to describe the outcome of this year’s WHA as, in addition to approving the budget, the GVAP, the AMR, and many more, three important resolutions were adopted, one on air pollution, one on epilepsy and one laying out the next steps in finalizing a framework of engagement with non-State actors.