Oman Participates in World Health Assembly Seventy-Fourth Session

Muscat, The seventy-fourth session of the World Health Assembly (WHA73) commenced today.

The Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) is participating in the virtual event with a delegation headed by Dr. Ahmed Mohammed al-Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, in the presence of MOH’s Undersecretaries and senior officials, in addition to Ambassador Idris bin Abdulrahman al-Khanjari, the Sultanate’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva.

The Sultanate statement in the meeting was presented by the Health Minister in the first day of the session where he pointed out that despite the progress that has been made in understanding the pandemic’s nature and root causes, identifying some measures for its prevention, managing its spread and part of its effects, and developing a bank of knowledge lessons about it, it was not enough as the pandemic is still taking too many lives. Dr. Ahmed emphasized the need to end the pandemic.

He underscored the Sultanate’s strong belief in advocating human security and peace through global cooperation as the country hosted in cooperation with the WHO and the UN Secretariat a meeting to Call for Health Security and Peace in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. “In the meeting, Oman reaffirmed our regional commitment with partners from across the globe to expanding cooperation in health, especially within the context of COVID-19, as a tool to harbor international solidarity, stability, and peace,” said Dr. Ahmed.

To emphasize the Sultanate’s efforts in supporting peace and health, the minister further noted in his word that Oman, in cooperation with Switzerland, has submitted a Global Health for Peace Initiative to the WHO, which will be discussed in January during the Executive Board Meeting 150, calling everyone to join that initiative.

Dr. Ahmed added that Oman participated in June last year in launching the coalition for a universal health protection architecture, which calls for a multilateral cooperation approach to protect everyone’s health anywhere and at any time.

The meeting reviews report of the Executive Board on its 147th and 148th sessions, and on its special session on the COVID-19 response, implementation of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030), Health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the WHO programme and financial reports for 2020–2021.

The current session addresses a number of documents, most important of which are public health emergencies: preparedness and response, mental health preparedness for and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, WHO’s work in health emergencies, and the five-year action plan for health employment and inclusive economic growth (2017–2021). The meeting additionally will touch upon the integrated people-centred eye care, and enhancement of laboratory biosafety, as well as health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Furthermore, the WHA74 will submit progress report of sustainable health financing structures and universal coverage, prevention of deafness and hearing loss, in addition to progress in the rational use of medicines, and Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030, and Smallpox eradication.

The nine-day meeting will further highlight expanding access to effective treatments for cancer and rare and orphan diseases, including medicines, vaccines, medical devices, diagnostics, assistive products, cell- and gene-based therapies and other health technologies; and improving the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines, and other health products, in addition to integrated people-centred eye care, including preventable vision impairment and blindness.

The meeting of the session examines multiple technical and administrative documents such as the WHO programme and financial reports for 2020–2021, including audited financial statements for 2020, and report of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board.

It should be noted that the World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is held annually and attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization and supervise financial and administrative policies.

Source: Oman News Agency