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Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly

Delegates at the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA 77) approved a four-year, US$ 11.1 billion strategy for global health to promote, provide, and protect health and well-being for all people, with an emphasis on climate change, aging, migration, pandemic threats, and equity, and adapted for a time of fast-moving geopolitics, science and technology.

The strategy, the Fourteenth General Programme of Work (GPW 14), treats 2025–2028 as an exceptional window of opportunity to build resilient, fit-for-future health systems and, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to get back on track to reach the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

GPW 14 has six strategic objectives which reflect major areas of focus for this four-year period:

respond to the escalating threat to health posed by climate change
address health determinants and root causes of ill health in key policies across sectors
advance primary health care and essential health system capacities for universal health coverage
improve health service coverage and financial protection to address inequity and gender inequalities
prevent, mitigate, and prepare for health risks from all hazards
rapidly detect and sustain the response to health emergencies.
Doc A77/16 Draft fourteenth general programme of work, 2025–2028

WHO’s investment case launch draws expressions of support, pledges to sustainably finance four-year strategy
WHO on Tuesday launched an investment case that lays out the Organization’s essential contribution to global health and seeks investment in its 2025–2028 strategy to save 40 million lives and improve the health of 6 billion people.

The investment case underpins WHO’s Investment Round, which kicked off on Sunday and has gained many robust expressions of support, commitments from countries to co-host, and a number of initial pledges that build momentum toward the Investment Round’s culmination later this year.

Statements of support and funding commitments came from Member States, and the European Union during Tuesday’s launch event at a strategic roundtable of the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA 77).

On 27 May the Health Assembly opened with the election of Dr Edwin Dikoloti of Botswana as the President of the Health Assembly. The elected Vice-Presidents are Dr Frank C.S. Anthony of Guyana, Dr Youngmee Jee of the Republic of Korea, Dr Ala Nemerenco of the Republic of Moldova, Dr Ali Haji Adam Abubakar of Somalia and Dr P.G. Maheepala of Sri Lanka.

During the high-level session, H.E. Elisabeth Baume-Schneider, Federal Councilor of the Swiss Confederation addressed the Health Assembly on behalf of the host country.

The delegates also heard from the Special Guest of Honour H.E. Mohamed El Ghazouani, President of Mauritania and Chairperson of the African Union and Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee. H.E. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, H.E. Anwar bin Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia, H.E. Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand and H.E. Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission delivered video statements.

Internationally acclaimed Egyptian opera singer Farrah El-Dibany performed at the Health Assembly. She shared her personal story to advocate strongly for the healing impact of music and the arts on health.

Director-General’s Award for Global Health
Dr Tedros presented the Director-General’s Award for Global Health to:

Professor Katalin Karikó and Professor Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania for their outstanding contributions to the development of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 at the opening of the Health Assembly.

H.E. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, received her award at the Launch of WHO Investment Round event on Sunday, 26 May.

On the sidelines of WHA77
TB Vaccine Accelerator Council holds its second high-level meeting
WHO convened its Second High-Level Meeting of the TB Vaccine Accelerator Council. The event was attended by ministers and representatives of Indonesia, Brazil, France, Kenya, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Viet Nam and United States of America, as well as participants from civil society and partner organizations such as the European Investment Bank, the Gates Foundation, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, Stop TB Partnership, Unitaid, Wellcome Trust and the World Bank.

The event concluded with agreement on 3 key acceleration tracks to drive work over the next two years, with the aim to expedite the development, approval, access, and deployment of new TB vaccines. These include:

Accelerate diversification of the TB vaccine portfolio by fast-tracking the translation of promising discoveries into vaccines that can be deployed worldwide, through effective funding strategies and enhanced collaboration;
Accelerate identification of market solutions by incentivizing late-stage development of new TB vaccines by launching a pull incentive mechanism, taking into consideration relevant issues such as national commitments, technology transfer, trade, and intellectual property; and
Accelerate rapid implementation and uptake of new TB vaccines by promoting and funding a comprehensive learning agenda to support preparedness, streamline regulatory processes, and facilitate global access.
The Council also agreed to convene a TB vaccine financing conference in 2025 to launch options for procurement and financing of late-stage products towards timely and equitable access. Council members agreed to leverage political and technical dialogues through existing and new collaborations, such as working groups, country workshops, and scheduled TB events to pave the way to the conference.

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