Geneva — The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom has said, that the body failed in the past to deliver the promise of health for all. Speaking at the 71st World Health Assembly that opened on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr Adhanom promised to act with urgency because every moment of delay cost life. "There is no commodity in the world more precious than health," he said.
"An institution charged with defending the health of 7 billion people bears great responsibility, and must be held to high standards," Mr Adhanom said. Thus, the call for urgency in action in the face of health challenges.
"The most powerful reminders of that responsibility in the past year have been the people I've met all over the world whose health we work to protect," Dr Tedros stated.
"But we must all admit that forty years later, we have failed to deliver that promise of health for all," he admitted.
"We will not settle for a world where there is 33-year difference in life expectancy between some countries," he pointed out, adding that there is a need to strengthen health systems everywhere.
On the Ebola outbreak
Dr Tedros also emphasized that the WHO staff and health workers are working around the clock to stop the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo adding that the disease outbreak in the Central African nation illustrates again that health security and universal health coverage are two sides of the same coin.
"The best thing we can do to prevent future outbreaks is to strengthen health systems everywhere. It also reminded me of what is at stake every day I come to work. It reminded me that we must act with a sense of urgency in everything we do, because every moment we lose is a matter of life and death," he explained, adding that WHO has established a High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases to stop premature and preventable deaths of millions of people across the world.
The World Health Assembly
This World Health Assembly which has attracted hundreds of delegates taking place from 21-26 May 2018 this morning also saw the election of the body's president, appointment of committee on credentials and election of five Vice-Presidents, the chairmen of the main committees and establishment of the general committee. The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO and it is attended by delegations from all the 194 WHO Member States including Tanzania and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. Tanzania delegation is led by Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu and some Members of Parliament including Kigoma Town (CCM) MP Peter Serukamba and Special Seats MP (Geita-CCM) Vicky Kamata among other government officials.
The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.