Five-Day World Health Assembly Meeting Kicks Off In Geneva

The annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) convened on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/Monsters and reports. According to the news service, influenza vaccines, the fight against tuberculosis, intellectual property and reducing counterfeit drugs will be discussed (4/17).

In addition, country progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and implementation of the International Health Regulations will also be addressed during the five-day gathering of WHO member state representatives, according to a UNAIDS article (5/17).

Leaders at the WHA will look into global efforts to eradicate polio, the Globe and Mail reports in a piece that examines the global fight against polio and a new plan of attack, as described during a Q&A with Bruce Aylward, a Canadian epidemiologist who co-ordinates the WHO’s global polio eradication program.

During the interview, Aylward highlights the challenges to eradicating polio in Nigeria and India, describes the ways researchers’ understanding of polio have evolved over time, and details several elements of the WHO’s new strategy for polio eradication.

Aylward also comments on the role the G8 can play. “They embraced a bold initiative on public health: to get rid of polio and to eliminate inequity in public health. After 10 years of a major investment, they are finally seeing a dramatic result in polio: months and months with very little virus in northern India and northern Nigeria. This is their chance to finish the job” (Picard, 5/16).

In related news, Vanguard/ reports on how representatives from Nigeria plan to present to other leaders the country’s “Health Strategic Development Plan that is designed to enable the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, on health” during the WHA.

“Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu who is leading a 27-man delegation to the annual global event, told Vanguard that several African countries had already indicated interest in the nation’s health plan which specifically addresses MDG 4 that is concerned with infant mortality, MDG 5, maternal mortality, and MDG 6, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” the news service writes (Ogundipe, 5/16).