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WHO DG bats for Right To Health

Dr. Tedros asks world leaders to make it constitutional right

The right cannot – must not – become an empty slogan, Dr Tedros said.

By B N KUMAR

MJUMBAI, May 31 (The CONNECT) The World Health Organisation (WHO) today called for enshrining the right to health in the constitutions of member countries.

The right to health, however, cannot – must not – become an empty slogan and It must become the experience of every person in every nation, said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his closing remarks at the 74th World Health Assembly held virtually.

This is a moment for exceptional leadership, for doing the unusual and the unprecedented, Dr Tedros said and stressed: “We must approach the future with open eyes and open arms.

He quoted a Bhutanese proverb: “If you want to action great ideas, you need to apply the” strength of a Himalayan mountain.”

The World Health Assembly has adopted more than 30 resolutions and decisions on diabetes, disabilities, ending violence against children, eye care, HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, local production of medicines, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, noncommunicable diseases, nursing and midwifery, oral health, social determinants of health and strategic directions for the health and care workforce. This morning, the Assembly approved a historic resolution on strengthening WHO preparedness and response for emergencies.

Pointing out that at present, pathogens have greater power than WHO, Dr Tedros said “they are emerging more frequently in a planet out of balance.”

“They exploit our interconnectedness and expose our inequities and divisions. The safety of the world’s people cannot rely solely on the goodwill of governments. Every government is responsible for, and accountable to, its own people,” he said.

Dr Tedros reminded delegates that the theme of this Assembly was “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world”

"We’re very encouraged that cases and deaths are continuing to decline globally, but it would be a monumental error for any country to think the danger has passed," said Dr Tedros urging countries to commit to supporting the targets to achieve vaccination of at least 10% of the population of all countries by the end of September, and at least 30% by the end of the year.

"One day – hopefully soon – the pandemic will be behind us but we will still face the same vulnerabilities that allowed a small outbreak to become a global pandemic."

Dr Tedros said the WHO cannot grow stronger without sustainable financing. This is not a new issue. “More sustainable financing has been one of my priorities as part of the WHO Transformation,” he said.

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