Two weeks ago, I attended the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva for the first time. It was an experience not only in trying to find my way in the UN Palais des Nations or a seat in the limited space for CSOs but for the rich discussions on the post-2015 agenda and the Every New-born Action Plan (ENAP) (see in our article on DEVEX and our blog).
Firstly, the WHO unveiled their proposal of goals and targets on health for the post-2015 development agenda. The overarching goal, ‘ensuring healthy lives and universal health coverage at all ages’, includes four sub-goals:
- achieve the health related MDGs
- address the burden of non-communicable disease, injuries and mental disorders;
- achieve , the universal health coverage (UHC) including financial risk protection;
- address the social and environmental determinants of health
In addition, WHO, together with the World Bank, presented their latest paper on UHC with recommended targets on essential health service coverage and financial protection.
End preventable maternal death, family planning and skilled attendance at birth are included in these documents.
Where is SRHR?
This is indeed very important and welcome. However I am surprised to see that the whole SRHR and GH R&D for poverty –related and neglected tropical diseases are not included.
This is more surprising as the role of global health R&D and SRHR were clearly highlighted with various resolutions, side events and even photo opps (see pictures).
On May 24th, the WHA adopted a new Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP). Further to the public consultation, the revised ENAP calls for strengthening the integration with reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. In addition, the plan recognises the need for research and innovation to improve new-born and maternal health outcome.
Speaking at the WHA, Melinda Gates insisted on these two aspects: the need for linkages within Reproductive Maternal New-born and Child Health continuum of care and for additional clinical and operational research to look for more effective, cheaper, adapted, easier to use interventions.
On May 20th, during the side event entitled ‘Sexual and reproductive health: emerging priorities beyond 2014/15’, several representatives from Finland, the Netherlands, Zambia, Chile, Nepal, Uruguay but also from UNFPA and WHO stressed the importance of SRHR.
Member States have also endorsed a resolution on the new Post-2015 Global Tuberculosis (TB) Strategy and Targets. This strategy aims at ending TB by 2035with a focus on research and innovation in care, prevention and control (drug resistant tuberculosis treatment, early diagnostic, vaccination).
Finally the Council of Health Research for Development, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Global Health Council, Global Health Technologies Coalition, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative organised a side event on R&D and urged decision makers to include R&D in the post 2015 development agenda. Among others, Mr. Berkley, CEO of the GAVI alliance, underlined the need for more and improved health technologies such as new vaccines for dengue, malaria, or HIV.
After these debates, I look forward to the report of the Open Working group and the United Nations General Assembly in September.