Will we be heard? Who knows….

Day 1 of the World Health Assembly came with its ups and downs. However, IFMSA does have a delegation you can be proud of!

A structured day started with IFMSA participation in the World Federation of Public Health Associations’ Luncheon, our first opportunity to network and break bread with some elites in the field of health. It also provided us a good opportunity to schedule/confirm meetings with some of the external organizations we work with. Good first steps at the assembly in itself.

And then came Margaret Chan’s Speech. If you missed reading about it, see the blog preceding this one with the relevant link. Dr Chan is indeed envisioning a new direction for WHO. In her words, “I see a WHO that pursues excellence, an organization that is effective, efficient, responsive, objective, transparent and accountable. I see WHO catalyzing more effective development aid that builds the capacities for countries to move towards self-reliance. Countries want a hand up, not a hand-out. I see a WHO that continues to base much of its work towards the many unmet health needs in Africa and beyond, and to the empowerment of healthy, well-educated, self-confident women and girls. I see a new WHO that works with other sectors to address health risks that threaten the health and stability of societies, and a new WHO where all countries, small or big, rich or poor, come together to defend equity, social justice, and human rights.”

This was followed by an open invitation to all of us to join her on this journey of reaffirmation, remembrance, reform, and revitalization, whilst always remembering the people!

An amazing speech, it most certainly was. However, the question that nagged many was the same. Is this solely another wave of motivational speaking? Will action be backed by words? Will implementation follow adoption of agreements, statements and regulations?

Your guess is most certainly as good as mine!

It was an awesome way to kick off for the work that lay ahead. It was a good platform for IFMSA to re-evaluate some of the points in our strategic plan for the Assembly. The blogs that follow will give you more insight for sure.

What we would like to have now, are a few responses from all of you out there reading this. Some reactions to Dr Chan’s statement. Some input on the priority points she has mentioned, and of course on the achievements that she highlighted.

We will be coming through with more updates for sure, especially on the issues of Health Systems Strengthening, Youth and Health Risks, Non-communicable diseases and the Social Determinants of Health, Climate Change and Health and the HIV/AIDS strategy.

Regards from Cj, Usman, Leo and the WHA team 🙂

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