66th World Health Assembly: 5 takeaways
Friday, May 31, 2013
“This has been an efficient and productive Health Assembly […] Perhaps the grey, cold, and rainy weather also contributed to a serious and focused Assembly,” World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said in her closing remarks on May 27.
Here are five takeaways from the annual meeting:
1. WHO’s 2014-2015 budget
Member states approved the organization’s proposed budget of $3.9 billion for the next two years. While there is a slight increase from the current budget, there are cuts to the organization’s programs for communicable diseases, and outbreak and emergency response.
“We see these cuts as part of a worrying ongoing global trend towards reduced medical capacity for emergencies and humanitarian crises, which is very sad news for populations in need,” MSF Humanitarian Advocacy and Representation Coordinator Emmanuel Tronc previously told Devex.
The organization’s access campaign executive director meanwhile noted the “profound” impact austerity and budget cuts are having on medicine access and health care.
“There is no real choice when WHO has to make a choice between infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases. The only real way forward is to restore full funding to all disease priorities,” Manica Balasegaram said.