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WHF at the WHO Executive Board Meeting: a round-up of the week’s activities

29 Jan 2016

World Heart Federation (WHF) Advocacy staff have spent the week at the World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva
Executive Board: 138th session. Here we bring you a brief summary of our activities from the week.


Statements on agenda items
Across the week, we submitted four WHF statements and three joint statements with the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (NCDA). These statements were researched and written by the WHF Advocacy team, with expert advice from the Scientific Policy Advice Committee (SPAC), NCDA and other stakeholders. You can read Q&As outlining our statements here:

Speakers have included Kathryn Taubert, Joanna Markbreiter and Alastair White.

Member and Board engagement
Floris Italianer (CEO Dutch Heart Foundation) joined us on Monday 25 January to represent the WHF Board; an excellent opportunity for him to experience the Executive Board opening sessions and reconnect with his contacts in the Dutch government.

Professor Issei Komuro of the Japanese Circulation Society (WHF Sustaining Partner) also joined the delegation for the first half of the week, while Dr Kathryn Taubert of American Heart Association (WHF Strategic Partner) joined for the second half. Dr Taubert was thanked by the Executive Board Chair for delivering a statement that covered rheumatic heart disease and women’s and children’s health.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) policy brief launch
Following a preliminary launch on UHC Day (12 December 2015), the RHD Action policy brief on UHC and RHD was launched in person on Thursday 28 January.

Supported by WHF’s Alice Grainger-Gasser, we approached decision-makers and politicians from seven countries – Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Philippines, India, Egypt and Sudan – with the policy brief, and are in the process of following up these important connections. Six WHO departments have received the policy brief, including NCDs, Health Safety, and Maternal, Adolescent, and Child Health.

Several civil society contacts participated in the live launch, from organizations as diverse as PATH, Save the Children, Gavi and FIP, and feedback on the document has been positive.

We would also like to say thank you to former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, who himself has RHD, for his email expressing support for the policy brief.

You can read more about the urgent need for RHD to be included in UHC in our CEO’s blog.

ECHO report launch
WHF was invited to the launch of the WHO Ending Childhood Obesity Commission’s (ECHO) final report in recognition of the recommendations and input provided by the WHF Advocacy team from February-November 2015. We also promoted the report to global media securing coverage in the British Medical Journal and Wall Street Journal. If you subscribe to these publications you can read the articles in full by clicking the links.

As with many intergovernmental meetings, the most interesting conversations and decisions are often made outside the boardroom. The WHO Executive Board, just like the World Health Assembly in May and the United Nations General Assembly in September, offers a great opportunity to meet our peers in global health and development. We will be very busy following up these conversations and connections for the rest of the year!