The World Health Organisation (WHO)has concluded its assembly with participants signing up to a historic consensus resolution on COVID-19 and the way ahead. The Assembly discussed lessons, challenges and collective next steps to tackle the pandemic.Heads of government and member states who were at the assembly adopted a resolution that set out a clear roadmap of the critical activities and actions that must be taken to sustain and accelerate the response at the national and international levels.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the WHO, said the resolution assigned responsibilities for both the WHO and its member states, and captured the comprehensive whole of government and whole of society approach that the WHO was calling for since its outbreak.
If implemented, this would ensure a more coherent, coordinated and fairer response that saves both lives and livelihoods.
The resolution according to him underlined WHO’s key role in promoting access to safe, effective health technologies to fight the pandemic.
“I welcome Member States’ commitment to lift all barriers to universal access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics including; four critical points from the resolution which states that;There is a global priority to ensure the fair distribution of all quality essential health technologies required to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and that relevant international treaties should be harnessed where needed, including; the provisions of the Trade Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.
The resolution further stated that COVID-19 vaccines should be classified as a global public good for health in order to bring the pandemic to an end. It also called on nations to ensure that collaboration to promote both private sector and government-funded research and development should be encouraged. This includes; open innovation across all relevant domains and the sharing of all relevant information with WHO.
Dr Ghebreyesus said and important collaborative response to the resolution would be the COVID-19 technology platform proposed by Costa Rica, which we will launch on the 29th of May, which aims at lifting access barriers to effective vaccines, medicines and other health products. We call on all countries to join this initiative.
“I’m glad we are making progress on the research and development agenda, which was mapped out in February at the research and development meeting convened by WHO, that roadmap has now given rise to the solidarity trials, which now include; 3,000 patients in 320 hospitals across 17 countries and to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator,” he said.
He stated that the world still had a long way to go in this pandemic as there were 106,000 cases reported to WHO in the last 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.
Dr Ghebreyesus expressed concern about the rising numbers of cases in low- and middle-income countries, stating that WHO was supporting Member States to ensure supply chains remained open and medical supplies reached health workers and patients.
“As we battle COVID-19, ensuring health systems continue to function is an equally high priority as we recognize the risk to life from any suspension of essential services, like child immunization
The WHO Director General observed that COVID-19 was not the only challenge the world was facing, but he pandemic taught and informed many lessons that health was not a cost but an investment.