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World Health Organization Executive Board Meeting 2014

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board meeting which takes place every January and World Health Assembly in May in Geneva stand out as crucial events during the course of the year to mark the agenda for future WHO activities and bring together representatives from the 194 member states’ ministries of health as well as other stakeholders. WONCA as a non-governmental organisation in official relations with the WHO is invited to participate in WHO meetings, amongst these the Executive Board meeting and World Health Assembly, with the aim of furthering collaborative efforts towards common objectives.

134th WHO Executive Board Meeting – January 2014

This year's WHO Executive Board meeting had the highest number of items ever scheduled for a non-budget year with 67 items on its agenda, 17 resolutions and a record-breaking number of registered participants. Margaret Chan, the WHO’s Director General, during her opening speech outlined the significant demands on the WHO secretariat and the need to be strategic about the work it undertakes, as well as the need to increase the capacity and self-reliance of member states themselves. She made reference to the growing challenges around non-communicable diseases and dementia, as well as the need to continue to work towards achieving universal health coverage in many countries and reduce inequities.

Technical issues covered during this year’s Executive Board meeting included; antimicrobial resistance, essential medicines, hepatitis, international health regulations, Millennium Development Goals, newborn health, non-communicable diseases, poliomyelitis, smallpox, TB, universal health coverage, vaccines, violence and violence against women. Numerous resolutions were presented including;
- Strengthening of palliative care as a component of integrated treatment within the continuum of care;
- Contributing to social and economic development- sustainable action across sectors to improve health and health equity;
-Follow-up of the Recife Political Declaration on Human Resources for Health: renewed commitments towards universal health coverage.

During the meeting new regional directors were appointed for South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, and Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo. Full details of the WHO Executive Board meeting including all the agenda papers and resolutions can be found here.

Meetings with WHO Staff & other NGOs

Attendance by a WONCA delegation at the WHO Executive Board meeting also offered an opportunity to introduce new members of the WONCA executive to existing WHO contacts, establish new contacts with WHO staff and with non-governmental organisations also in official relations with the WHO, such as the International Federation of Medical Student Associations and World Medical Association. Michael Kidd, Amanda Howe and Luisa Pettigrew met on behalf of WONCA with WHO staff across various departments including; the classifications team, the department of mental health and substance abuse, occupational health and radiation safety teams, department of reproductive health and research, as well as a meeting with Carissa Etienne the Regional Director for the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), and participating a meeting specially coordinated for WONCA by Hernan Montenegro, WONCA's liaison point at the WHO, with 10 key members of the Health Systems and Innovation cluster including Marie-Paul Kieny, Assistant Director General.

These meetings proved extremely valuable in order to review the great work that is being led by many of WONCA's working parties and special interest groups, as well as to identify areas and mechanisms for future collaboration. As a result of this visit further opportunities for collaboration have emerged in the areas of gender and family violence, occupational health, radiation and health, safety in primary care, leadership/management competencies for quality and patient safety, as well as with PAHO.

Next step in analysis of WHO Survey responses

One of WONCA' current projects in collaboration with WHO is the online Consultation on Primary Care Providers' Experiences with Health Services which ran during October and November last year. We received over 250 detailed responses from family doctors and other primary care providers in 70 countries, and wish to thank all of you who responded. Responses have undergone initial review by WHO for incorporation of narratives into the upcoming WHO Strategy on High Quality, Integrated People-centred Services. Further thematic analysis of responses is planned, with a view to producing a collaborative paper later this year. If you have any questions about this project or any other WHO related activity, please do not hesitate to contact WONCA's WHO liaison person Dr Luisa Pettigrew [email protected]
Luisa Pettigrew