The agreement found last year after months of intense discussion to avert the possibility of undue influence by outside actors at the World Health Organization is yet to be fully implemented. The World Health Assembly last week looked at progress and the process by which the WHO can temporarily welcome on its staff individuals from the private sector, civil society, philanthropic foundations, and academic institutions. Some countries questioned principles in this process but were told by the WHO that their comments would merely be recorded. Continue reading ->
Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic respiratory diseases are killing millions of people each year, making noncommunicable diseases the leading global cause of human deaths, many of them premature. This week, the World Health Assembly endorsed an updated set of policy options for countries to help them with the prevention and control of those diseases. On the list is a suggestion for tax increases on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, and the reduction of salt intake. Supported by many countries, it was resisted by the United States and Italy. Continue reading ->
After what was described as the biggest World Health Assembly ever, with the highest number of agenda items and the highest attendance, it seemed that all’s well that ends well at the closing ceremony earlier today. A notable fact during this assembly has been the rising volume of voices from developing countries, joined by developed countries on issues related to access to affordable, safe, and efficacious medicines. Resolutions and decisions were adopted, many with hopes of better addressing challenges such as antimicrobial resistance, cancer, substandard and falsified medical products, medicines access and shortages and more. Continue reading ->
Does glyphosate, better known under its brand name RoundUp, increase the risk of cancer in humans, or not? Yesterday, some World Health Organization members, while hailing a draft resolution on cancer later adopted, underlined a lack of coordination on glysophate between the WHO and its agency for cancer research. Separately, a renowned scientist sent a letter to European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, saying the evaluations on the herbicide are flawed, and should be done again to safeguard public health. Continue reading ->
We are in a liminal moment for global health financing. The “golden age” of increasing donor funding is clearly over, arrested by the 2008 financial crisis. But while donor contributions are no longer climbing, they have not been falling, either. And it is possible this status quo will hold… But it’s equally possible that this is just the pause before the roller-coaster drops. Considering that Gavi, the Global Fund, and the World Bank will all be launching another replenishment round in 2019—and given the uncertainty surrounding US foreign aid commitments and post-polio financing—that drop may prove very steep indeed. Continue reading ->
A committee at the World Health Assembly yesterday decided to seek a closer look at consequences of potential changes to the WHO framework on pandemic influenza. The decision, still to be confirmed by the World Health Assembly, requires in-depth analysis of how to handle pandemic flu viruses under the framework, whether the framework should cover seasonal influenza, and whether the framework should become a specialised international instrument on access and benefit-sharing. Continue reading ->