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World Health Assembly Greenlights Outbreak Preparedness Plan, Malaria Eradication Targets, Antimicrobial Resistance Goals, Among Other Issues

News outlets report on discussions at the World Health Assembly, as the WHO decision-making body prepares to wrap up its annual meeting.

Agence France-Presse: Some 30 nations have dangerously weak health systems: WHO
“About 30 countries have health systems that are as dangerously weak as the ones that allowed Ebola to ravage Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization warned Thursday…” (5/21).

Agence France-Presse: Countries vow to all but eradicate malaria by 2030: WHO
“…Diplomats gathered in Geneva for the U.N. health body’s annual decision-making assembly agreed late Wednesday to a plan to cut malaria cases by 40 percent by 2020 and by 90 percent by 2030, WHO said…” (5/21).

Associated Press: Countries approve plan for $100M health emergency fund
“…Delegates from the WHO’s 194 member states, meeting in Geneva, approved the fund Saturday as part of an overhaul of the agency’s emergency work. The money will come from voluntary member contributions and is meant to allow WHO to fund field operations for up to three months…” (5/23).

International Business Times: Combating Deadly Superbugs: Governments Must Devise Plan To Address Antibiotic Resistance By May 2017, After World Health Assembly Endorses New Plan
“A new global action plan endorsed by the World Health Assembly in Geneva Monday urges all governments to have national strategies in place by May 2017 to combat antimicrobial resistance, a global phenomenon that facilitates the rise of deadly superbugs. Most countries do not have nationwide plans to address climbing rates of antibiotic resistance…” (Whitman, 5/25).

New York Times: WHO Plan Aims to Combat Resistance to Antibiotic Drugs
“…The plan is due to be adopted Tuesday at a plenary session of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, but its endorsement is a formality after member states meeting Monday in committee gave it unanimous support. The plan emphasizes the need to develop surveillance of resistance; act more fully to prevent infections; better control the use of existing antibiotics; and develop mechanisms to support investment in new antibiotic drugs…” (Cumming-Bruce, 5/25).

NPR: World Health Organization Considers Measures To Quicken Outbreak Response
“The consensus is that the World Health Organization’s performance on Ebola was miserable. At the agency’s annual meeting, the WHO is set to adopt reforms to make sure what happened with Ebola doesn’t happen again…” (Doucleff, 5/25).

Reuters: West Africa’s health systems need rebuilding post-Ebola: WHO
“Health care systems in West Africa that collapsed during the Ebola epidemic must be rebuilt urgently to provide basic services and confront other killer diseases, the World Health Organization said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 5/21).

WHO: World Health Assembly gives WHO green light to reform emergency and response program
“…Delegates at the 68th World Health Assembly welcomed WHO’s commitment to deep reforms of its emergency work, in particular by setting out clear and effective command and control mechanisms across all three levels of the organization — headquarters, regional, and country offices…” (5/23).

WHO: World Health Assembly addresses antimicrobial resistance, immunization gaps, and malnutrition
“The World Health Assembly [Monday] agreed resolutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance; improve access to affordable vaccines, and address over- and under-nutrition…” (5/25).

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