Day 2 of IFMSA at the SIXTY-FIFTH World Health Assembly (WHA)

Second Day

Today was the 2nd day of the World Health Assembly-65(WHA) in Geneva and it was indeed a busy and productive day for the IFMSA delegation. There were many meetings scheduled with positive outcomes and also two of our interventions were delivered by Christopher Pleyer, IFMSA President.

Intervention on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

The intervention on NCDs identifies its crisis on the inequalities of our world. On the intervention, we urge for an implementation of indicators that set “SMART” targets in fighting NCDs.  The WHA65 13.1 Resolution Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (specifically the first two paragraphs) was a hot topic at the WHA65, as many member states and civil society debated the specifics on what is needed in the resolution.

Intervention on Mental Health

The mental health intervention urged member states:

-to take on young people’s mental health

-to create a Mental Health Action Plan that also aligns itself with a set of “SMART” targets in fighting Mental Health

-to include mental health in addressing health inequities.

The basis of this intervention is based on policy statements passed in IFMSA on: the Adolescent Health in the EMR, health equity and social determinants of health, and non-communicable diseases.  The WHA65 13.2 Resolution Global burden of mental disorders and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response from health and social sectors at the country level passed. This can potentially encourage us to scale up our activities in this field serving as a starting point in redoubling our efforts to bring this topic in the global health agenda as well within IFMSA.

All our statements were received with great commendation by state members and other NGOs.

Other Activities

We were invited to a side event by World Medical Association where the 21st U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius spoke about Women’s Health. She spoke about the importance of Women and Mothers in being essential in providing care to the entire family unit. She also highlighted the health disparities that challenged women, resulting in their poor access and use of health care. She commended the U.S. health reforms as step-forward to address health inequity in the U.S. We had the opportunity to invite Secretary Sebelius to the March Meeting 2013 in Washington D.C. hosted by AMSA-USA.

Part of the delegation attended the side event on eHealth and mHealth to improve maternal health. Some countries showed their experiences on how mobile technology are helping to educate women during pregnancy and enforcing and improving child survival strategies. NGOs and different stakeholders were really keen to show to the delegates that eHealth and mHealth will be for sure a trending topic in the next years, since it is easy to educate people with tools that are in their daily life as cellphones.

Other members attended the event on a global plan towards the elimination of new infection among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive, which was organized by UNAIDS. This event also focused on the different plans some countries are doing to achieve these goals but at the same time it was reinforced that the idea of a multisectorial approach needs to be taken in this matter.

Key Note Speakers for the WHA-65

First Key Note Speaker: Princess of Morocco, HRH Lalla Salma. She states politicians, drug companies & civil society should take responsibility in addressing cancer.

Second Key Note Speaker: Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Jᴓnas Stᴓre, former WHO Chief of Staff under. Dr Gro Brundtland. He emphasizes the partnership between health and foreign policy and economic policy–real opportunities for progress (social/health).

Concluding Thoughts

Today was and important day for the preparations towards the Rio+20 Conference in which IFMSA will have a strong participation through advocacy. One of the plans that was brought up today is the coordination of the social media use during the conference to target authorities, governments, civil societies and other members who won’t be present at the meeting.

IFMSA has a strong relation with the World Federation of Public Health Association (WFPHA). This year we were able to send a delegation to the World Congress on Public Health by sending a delegation to this congress and during the WHA we could follow up on the achievements obtained there. Also it was a good chance to seek for new ways of collaborations with our partners in the public health field.

Our delegation split in order to cover our external representation in the different fields we act. Some of us attended meetings with different departments at WHO, with Doctors without Borders (MSF), the Non-Communicable disease alliance (NCD Alliance) and the World Medical Association (WMA).


For day 3 we have even a busier day planned and many of our interventions are being presented and also many other meetings are scheduled. We will make sure to keep you updated, follow our twitter and facebook accounts.

Written by: Charles Chineme (RC-Africa), Pablo Vega (LORMA), Christopher Pleyer (President) and Roopa Dhatt (VPE)

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