The 66th Session of the World Health Assembly
- Category: Current
WHO's Health Assembly, the world's largest health policy-making body opened its 66th Session in Geneva with around 3000 participants from around the world. Major health issues to be discussed include:
- preventing and controlling noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers and chronic lung disease;
- monitoring of progress countries are making towards the Millennium Development Goals;
- intensifying efforts to eradicate polio;
- protecting more children from vaccine-preventable diseases;
- supporting countries in their efforts to move forward with universal health coverage.
In her opening address to the Health Assembly, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan noted that the world is facing challenging times, including financial crisis, job insecurity, armed conflicts and large numbers of people living on the edge, fearing for their lives.
"In these troubled times, public health looks more and more like a refuge, a safe harbor of hope that allows, and inspires, all countries to work together for the good of humanity," says Dr Chan.
Globalisation, EU policies and the impact on the Dutch Health System
- Category: Current
The following text is an excerpt from a background note entitled: Globalisation, EU policies and the impact on the Dutch Health System, written by Remco van de Pas, global health advocate from Stichting Wemos, The Netherlands. The background document was used to inform a debate on 09 April on globalisation and the Dutch health system, organized by Wemos and the Netherlands Public Health Federation. Click here for the full background document.
[...] Many of the health problems that governments confront today transcend national borders and are part of a complex web of interdependence. The separation between domestic and foreign policy agendas has become blurred, and the new geopolitical constellations significantly affect the role and position of many countries in the European Region - indeed of Europe as a whole - in the global arena. Parts of Europe are becoming considerably poorer and have to make hard choices about health and health systems. To resolve these problems, health ministries find themselves working at several levels, with overlapping networks of actors with competing agendas, both at home and abroad. In the critical situation of economic downturn, it has become obvious that health ministries do not have much bargaining power. In an interdependent world, the economic effects of health and health security on other sectors and the whole of society are becoming increasingly evident and may even change the societal approach to health. As health issues affect other stakeholders negatively, they will increasingly call for governance and institutions that can respond and deliver a more efficient health system and improved health security. A recent example is the damage to the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan. The threat to human health being is the main factor in the international debate about controlling atomic energy (Kickbusch, 2012). [...]
Apply now: Executive Course on Global Health Diplomacy
- Category: Current
The Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute in Geneva is offering an intensive five-day course on Global Health Diplomacy. The course is offered in response to an increasing demand for new skills, as health moves beyond its purely technical realm to become an ever more critical element in foreign policy, security policy and trade agreements. Since 2007, more than 120 diplomats and health professionals have benefited from this course, which focuses on health diplomacy and negotiations, with a new thematic emphasis each year.
This year's course will explore current debates at the interface between foreign policy, trade and human rights, such as non-communicable diseases, the post-2015 development agenda, and access to medicines. Through a multidisciplinary learning process, academics and practitioners will share their expertise on health-related negotiations including international law mechanisms to develop new agreements. Negotiation simulations and skill-building activities will facilitate the real-life background discussion, along with a high-level introduction to the field of global health diplomacy and key challenges at the national, regional and global levels.
The course is aimed at applicants from different professional backgrounds, such as health attachés and other diplomats with a portfolio impacting on health, health and international relations professionals in departments of international health, as well as representatives of international organisations, NGOs, philanthropic organisations and the private sector.
Date: 1-5 July 2013
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
Deadline for applications: Monday 1 April 2013. Click here for more information.
Congress summary: Global Health Governance at the European Health Forum Gastein
- Category: Current
Global Health Governance was one of the key topics during last year's European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG). The EHFG is the leading health policy event in the EU and it provides a major platform for decision-makers from public health & health care. The official congress summary has now been published and is available online.
During the parallel session on Global Health Governance, the European approach to the global health issues of our time were discussed. A central element of the discussions was the acknowledgement that health has lost much of its national sovereignty. Globalisation and a complex network of actors and determinants require a different and novel approach to global health governance. However, bureaucratic challenges stemming from fragmented activities often hinder developments. The panellists agreed that WHO and the EU need to take responsibility to address the upcoming challenges by leading collaborations which promote health as a human right. This also requires working together with the private sector, which plays a large role in the current changes and power shifts in the global architecture.
High level speakers and panelists included Zsuszanna Jakab, Regional Director of the the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Marc Sprenger, Director of the European Center for Disease Control, Srinath Reddy, President of the Indian Public Health Foundation and Yang Gonghuan, the former Vice Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control. Together with experts from the European Commission, the European External Action Service as well as from the Member States, industry and academia, all speakers provided excellent contributions to this highly dynamic and complex field.
What the Millennium Development Goals have accomplished
- Category: Current
The following text is an excert of a well-informed article on the future of the Millennium Development Goals process, published by the Brookings Institution.
The [Millenium Development] goals will expire on December 31, 2015, and the debate over what should come next is now in full swing. This year, a high-level UN panel, co-chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will put forward its recommendations for a new agenda. The United States and other members of the UN General Assembly will then consider these recommendations, with growing powers, such as Brazil, China, India, and Nigeria, undoubtedly playing a major role in forging any new agreement. But prior to deciding on a new framework, the world community must evaluate exactly what the MDG effort has achieved so far. Continue reading
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