These strong words from Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, may best summarize the 148th Executive Board of the WHO: “The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries.”
The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the weeklong agenda, and delegates from countries and civil society organizations alike repeatedly expressed their growing concerns about the lack of progress on combatting the spread of the disease and the inequitable distribution of vaccines. However, the debate ended on a positive note: the Member States indicated a willingness to negotiate an international treaty on emergency preparedness to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
The World Heart Federation participated in the spirited debate with a number of official statements throughout the week:
- Item 6: Draft Decision on Addressing Diabetes as a Public Health Concern with the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health
- Item 6, subitem on oral health: Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases with the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health
- Item 10: Substandard and falsified medical products with the Fight the Fakes Alliance
- Item 16: Social determinants of health with the NCD Alliance
- Item 22: Non-State Actor Engagement with the WHO with the NCD Alliance
WHF was proud to represent our Members and keep CVD and circulatory conditions at the center of the global health debate. We also worked closely with partners in the NCD space to break down disease siloes and speak with one voice on the most pressing issues on the Executive Board agenda, in spite of increasing technical barriers to participation inherent to the new virtual format of the Governing Bodies meetings.
The debate will continue at the 74th World Health Assembly, scheduled to take place from 24 May – 1 June 2021.