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74th World Health Assembly of WHO Held Virtually

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74th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) of World Health Organization (WHO) held virtually from Geneva, Switzerland amid COVID-19, from 24th May to 31st May 2021.The theme of the 74th WHA is “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world”.

Mrs.Dechen Wangmo, Health Minister of Bhutan has been elected as the President of the 74th WHA.

Target – To achieve vaccination of at least 10% of the population of all countries by September,2021 and at least 30% by the end of 2021.

January 30 Declared as World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day

During 74th WHA, January 30 was unanimously adopted as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day’. The proposal was submitted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). WHO has devised new road map for 2021–2030 to end NTDs.

What are NTDs?

NTDs are a group of infections that are most common among marginalised communities in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas. They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms.

For Eg:NTDs include snakebite envenomation, scabies, yaws, trachoma, Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.

Note – 2021 has been designated as the International Year of Health and Care Workers by the WHO.

Dr Harsh Vardhan Presented the Highlights of 147th and 148th sessions:

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan Chairman of WHO Executive Board (EB) presented the highlights of the 147th and 148th sessions of the Executive Board and its Special Session on COVID-19 response.

74th WHA adopts new resolution on malaria:

74th WHA adopted a new resolution on Malaria that aims to revitalize and accelerate efforts to end malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that continues to claim more than 400 000 lives annually.

The resolution was led by the United States of America and Zambia – and co-sponsored by Botswana, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Eswatini, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Philippines, Peru, Sudan, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Member States of the European Union.

Reason for Resolution:

  • WHO said an estimated 7.6 million deaths and 1.5 billion cases had been averted since 2000, but the global gains in combatting malaria have levelled off in recent years.
  • According to the latest World malaria report, there were approximately 229 million new cases of malaria in 2019, an annual estimate that has remained virtually unchanged since 2015.

Note – Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme.

WHA extended the GCM for Non Communicable Diseases until 2030:

  • WHA extended the Global Coordination Mechanism (GCM) for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) until 2030.
  • The plan will include a clear vision, a robust results framework, performance and outcome indicators and clarity on how the mechanism will carry out its functions in a way that is integrated with WHO’s ongoing work on NCDs.

WHA approves Implementation roadmap for achieving SDG target on NCD:

i.WHA to develop an implementation roadmap for 2023-2030 in support of the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

ii.The roadmap will provide a basis for countries to decide on priority activities and pathways to accelerate progress towards achievement of SDG target 3.4 in the next 10 years.

iii.Target 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one third by 2030 relative to 2015 levels.

About World Health Organization (WHO):

Director General – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Headquarter – Geneva, Switzerland