IFMSA was represented by Roopa Dhatt (IFMSA President), Usman Mustaq (IFMSA VPE) and Chantelle Willard (AMSA-Australia). We would like to share with you some updates about the meeting.
Today was the first day of the WHO-EB 132. As an opening day, the discussions focused on key themes of the health agenda for the year–including special mention of the WHO reform, NCDs, and as well as the overall increased participation of member states on global health. A great deal of comments were made on the NCD resolution and indicators and the process that has been going on for sometime. The agenda for this WHO-EB is quite extensive thus they are being very selective about speaking rights.
The next days will be followed up with many more reports being presented and discussion of various resolutions. We have several follow up meetings scheduled with WHO representatives, WMA and other partners that are present.
Priorites selected by the delegation to focus on
IFMSA will be closely focusing on the agenda items below and consider delivering interventions on them based on the discussion and whether an intervention is appropriate. We passed several key policy statements in AM12 and MM12 that will be used as a foundation for our statements.
Draft action plan for the prevention and control of
noncommunicable diseases 2013–2020
Draft comprehensive mental health action plan 2013–2020
Monitoring the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals
Monitoring the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals
Health in the post-2015 development agenda
Follow-up actions to recommendations of the high-level commissions convened to advance women’s and children’s health
Social determinants of health
Report by the Secretariat
Neglected tropical diseases
Prevention, control, elimination and eradication
Universal health coverage
The health workforce: advances in responding to shortages and migration, and in preparing for emerging needs
The morning has been spent discussing key health commitments in Mental Health. Member States across the board have supported the Mental Health Plan . This plan will potentially be used to impact the Mental Health Across the board.
Some key highlights:
Switzerland: protect mental health without sexual discrimination.
Australia: It is a very polished document. Mental health is a priority in Australia, there is a separate ministry.
Croatia: Mental health services should be paired with civil society organizations.
Lithuania: A call for universal call for mental health services coverage. By 2013, depression burden will be leading.
Thailand: The Mental Action plan requires health work force to implement.
Blindness & Visual Impairment 2014-2019 (Action Plan)
Member states discuss how this issue has been neglected, even though there are often preventable measures and treatments that are curable. Several express they hope this is on the agenda for the next WHA.
Some key highlights:
Saudi Arabia: We adopted the EMRO resolution on Universal Eye Care. We are delighted to co-sponsor this resolution on the Global Health Eye Action Plan.
Resolutions Submitted by IFMSA
The day was used primarily for discussing WHO Reform. This is a process that WHO took upon itself in the past year to review how the entire organization works–from structure, to financing to engaging with civil organizations. It is a vast project and this could potentially impact our relations with them, as we are part of the Civil Society Organization (CSOs) group or NGOs. We will be delivering a statement on this WHO reform to areas that pertain to us. We want to focus on youth engagement, but also increasing transparency, inclusiveness, involvement and coordination to engage with CSOs more (all values we promote in IFMSA).
We networked on the Global Health Diplomacy Pre-WHA event. We had some successes, more to come. We also talked with the U.S. Mission, Norway Mission, and Australia Mission.
Health Promotion, (Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions.)
The department has sent us an invitation to be involved in this conference–the specifics are to be further defined. They are also considering internship opportunities.
SDH (The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.)
The Rio Political Declaration of 2011 confirmed Member State commitment to take action to address the social determinants of health in five areas:
Adopt improved governance for health and development
Promote participation in policy-making and implementation
Further reorient the health sector towards promoting health and reducing health inequities
Strengthen global governance and collaboration
Monitor progress and increase accountability
The SDH momentum continues to grow. They have confirmed an internship opportunity in this area, more to follow. Furthermore, opportunities are being explored about pushing for an online module. The department expressed interest on documenting the value of sdh/global health curriculum–potentially meaningful measures for students.
We received an invite to coordinate the youth component to this movement. We also received an opportunity to attend this meeting with a very large delegation of health students. The aim would be support this very key issue about health workers. We had the chance to meet with Robbert Duvvier an intern and LoME 2009/11. The department expresses continued interest on working with us. Very excited about IFMSA and the young voices being part of this.
THIRD GLOBAL FORUM ON HRH
(more news, very exciting new to be delivered on this) These maybe potential areas that medical student and health students could get involved in. As well, we met up with the fellow IPSF representatives.
Our statement is attached. Agenda Point 5.
Personal Comment–> The reform happening at WHO hasn’t happened at this level in almost 30 years. Things weren’t working well for them and they decided to do a major reform. TAKE HOME LESSON: REFORMs might be a huge investment of time and resources, but without them, organizations become ineffective. It might be time for us to consider in IFMSA to commit to a major reform process.
Today was a day that IFMSA delivered its voice to the WHO-EB. It was a very tough day with only myself and Chantelle and many things to address.
Including, DG Maraget Chan jotted down notes. Day 4 was relevant to our key areas of focus Post-2015 and SDH.
Post-2015 was a very interesting discussion about how member states engage with either placing health into all MDG goals or making one goal. Another interesting point was universal health coverage (UHC) vs. vertical programs. The majority were supporting UHC. Interesting, it was noted that many do not know the definition of Universal Health Coverage and how it is easily confused with Universal Health Care (so what is UHC–> check out the link, I KNOW UHC. There was also concern about supporting the notion of UHC, especially in countries with weakened health systems. In other words, if the hospitals are bad, is UHC the answer. Our statement was well received. A few delegations in passing stated it was a good statement, including the representative from World Health Professions Alliance and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). Our statement focused on three key areas: considering health in all the 10 thematic discussions on Post-2015, using a human rights and human security (development and rights) approach, and a special attention to women & child related issues, especially reducing violence, ending child-brides and focusing on basic needs. PLEASE READ IT, AS IT WAS AWESOME. We also said a special thanks to Norway, as it was the only member state that mentioned youth.
We had the UK delegation approach and they spoke to us for an 1hr on our position. What we think. Of course.
The topic had more consensus in the room and is fully supported. Most states discussed how to implement and what are the next phases. They also discussed the range of SDH work in the regions with Africa being the weakest and PAHO doing great stuff. We delivered another great statement that focused on youth being a part of the innovative solutions.
We celebrated this awesome day with UN DRINKS–Bar De La Plage Geneva. Of course we were only there for professional networking–to hear how other young people are contributing to social change at the UN (loads of exciting thing…!)
Day 5, Key Discussions
Day 5 was an interesting day for the on-going discussions in WHO on a variety of topics. The key discussions were around the consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG). There was a lack of commitment on part of the members states on CEWG report and the draft resolution was weak in many opinions. However, some member states, including China, fervently stated that they opposed the resolution, whereas, other member states felt this was a step forward, while still more needed to be done. There was a great deal of disagreement in the room, resulting in DG Chan singing at one point.
Some key comments:
Medicus mundi international network: “We firmly believe that the independent evaluation of WHO should produce a comprehensive and strategic situation analysis of WHO’s current positioning on the overcrowded stage of actors influencing global health.” (Democratising Global Health coalition and MMI statement on the independent evaluation of the WHO reform #EB132 http://bit.ly/V0bVLo)
@WHO Executive Board: #Disabled ppl face barriers in accessing services such as health care, education, transport, employment #EB132
@WHO People with disabilities also face barriers in accessing justice. #EB132 #disability
RT @WHO: An estimated 1 billion people live with disabilities; this number is set to increase as populations age. #EB132 #disability
Doctors w/o Borders: Decade of #Vaccines” plan must do more to address high prices and lack of products for developing world. Vaccine costs rose 2700% over the last decade, so why doesn’t the blueprint for the next decade have a goal to bring prices down? We need products that make vaccinating kids easier. We need a clear signal that this is a critical objective for the next decade.
#EB132-Director-General Chan throws down the gauntlet on the CEWG process: “Let’s fight this out at the Assembly”
MSF Intervention on CEWG: Financing & Coordination at WHO #EB132 http://www.msfaccess.org/content/msf-intervention-cewg-financing-coordination-132nd-who-executive-board …
Joint letter to WHO EB delegates on follow-up of CEWG report on R&D (HAI, KEI, MSF, Oxfam, PHM, Stop AIDS, TWN) http://lists.keionline.org/pipermail/ip-health_lists.keionline.org/2013-January/002758.html … #EB132
#eb132 Medico Mundis, TWN & PHM say CEWG report proposed a paradigm shift that draft resolution does not reflect
It was also Aussie Day, as Chantelle Willard is from Australia, we were very fortunate to have lunch with the Australian Mission and Dr. Halton. Including having very important diplomatic discussions on Vegemite.
The remaining part of the day was spent prepping for Monday and also meeting with our colleagues from IPSF ( International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation). We discussed the follow-up on the World Health Student Alliance (WHSA), as well as representation to the high-level discussions on Health Promotion in June in Finland. We concluded by discussing a bit about on-going reform. President Radek Mitura will join us at the MM13.
25% of the @WHO #budget comes from regular “dues”, the rest is money that countries, agencies, other partners give to WHO voluntarily #EB132
Day 7, Delivering a Message
Today IFMSA delivered a message on Universal Health Coverage. A special thanks to Schi from St. Kitts for the input. The statement was well received and we were approached by Save the Children, as we as positive feedback. We also received a request from the PHM to have our statement. Our statement is attached below.
Discussions also focused on health workforce. There were encouragement on reporting and migration studies. The ILO expressed there needs to be ethical guidelines on international recruitment. (PERSONAL COMMENT: THIS IS A HUGE TOPIC THAT IFMSA AT THE MOMENT HAS NOT LOOKED AT, IT COULD POTENTIALLY BE A PRIORITY AREA FOR US TO ADDRESS THE EQUITY ISSUES).
Some Key Comments:
China: #UHC not only responsibility of health sectors. Governments should have primary responsibility for implementing policies.
Universal health coverage. Report by WHO Secretariat. Discussion will continue today at 132nd Session of WHO EB http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB132/B132_22-en.pdf … #EB132
Italy: include human rights, equity and in particular gender equity. #post2015 #EB132 need to have simple subgoals under universal coverage
Argentina: free health care is best, but sustainability of these models is successful when implemented with health insurance #EB132 #UHC
Lebanon: involvement of NGOs and primary care important for #UHC (universal health coverage)#EB132 #WHO
Cuba: health is a human right and can’t be achieved without #UHC it fails when unequal distribution of wealth #EB132 #WHO
Lithuania: include #UHC in monitoring of healthcare systems, multi-sectorial approach required #EB132 #WHO
Yemen: quotes DG “#UHC is achieveable” #EB132 interplays of exisiting initiatives with #UHC and emergencies in our region #EB132
Brazil: analysis on migration patterns of health workforce must respect human rights #EB132 #WHO
Australia: self-sufficiency, spend 1.5 billion USD on this domestically to champion health workforce but still not there #EB132
USA: supports goals of global code, need health workforce training and health systems, increase medical, nursing school enrollment #EB132
Norway: Global code of practice-less than 1 in 4 member states submitted code report in 2012. Coordinate with GHWA #EB132 #WHO
Maldives: difficulty with their own eduction of health workers, trouble with forged medical degrees, massive expat health workforce #EB132
@WHO Executive Board has adopted resolution on #eHealth incl. eLearning, capacity building and networks #EB132
Chad: protection measures need to prevent efraud, not enough resources currently in Africa for this IT health sector #EB132 #WHO
Day 8, the Conclusion
The last day was filled with many informal meetings among members states and discussions on WHO Reform. This was a quite day for IFMSA, but we followed up with some of the acquaintances we networked with and reminded them of the potential opportunities to engage with us for the pre-WHA, our GAs and additional chances. Ms. Chantelle Willard (AMSA-Australia) represented us to the last day.
Some Key Comments:
WHO’s Executive Board recommends adoption of a resolution on all 17 neglected tropical diseases.
eHealth and health Internet domain names, Report by the Secretariat @WHO #EB132 http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB132/B132_24-en.pdf …
Global updates on eHealth, health Internet domain & the protection of domain names of intergovernmental orgs | http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB132/B132_24-en.pdf … #EB132
At @WHO Board meeting, Director Chan resorts to crying to persuade members not to micro-manage her on budget. Story to follow. #EB132
Brazil: Don’t cry for us Dr DG. The truth is we never left you. We reelected you – Tune of don’t cry for me argentina #EB132 #WHO
Related to WHO Reform:
– WHO Secretariat will continue developing policies for engagement with both civil society and the private sector, to be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2013.
-The Secretariat agreed that there are some overarching principles that will guide all relationships such as transparency, accountability, and the criteria of making a contribution to health.
-However, WHO must ensure that it properly and appropriately safeguards against vested interests.