New Delhi: While reporting to member states at the 76th World Health Assembly, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sounded an alert that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a global threat. He said, “The end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat.” The Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, starting from May 21 to May 30. The theme of this year’s Health Assembly is: WHO at 75: Saving lives, driving health for all.
On May 22, speaking at the World Health Assembly, Dr Tedros said,
The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains. And the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains.
He categorically said that “pandemics are far from the only threat we face”, underlining the need for an effective architecture for health emergency preparedness and response to address all sorts of emergencies. He added,
When the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively and equitably.
Dr Tedros noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant implications for the health-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have a deadline of 2030. There are 17 SDGs of which one focuses on ‘good health and well-being’ – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. He said,
More than 1 billion more people are now enjoying better health and well-being since 2018, but progress is insufficient to reach the related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The pandemic has also affected each of the “triple billion” targets, said Dr Tedros. The Triple Billion targets are an ambitious initiative to improve the health of billions by 2023. By 2023, WHO proposes to achieve:
- 1 billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage
- 1 billion more people better protected from health emergencies
- 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being
Dr Tedros called to double the pace of efforts to achieve health for all or universal health coverage. He said,
On universal health coverage, we have made progress and closed gaps, and since 2018, 477 million more people are enjoying the benefits of universal health coverage. But on current trends, fewer than half the world’s population will be covered by the end of the SDG era in 2030.
Before signing off, Dr Tedros made three requests:
- Urged every Member State to work with the Secretariat to identify concrete ways to pick up the pace of progress on the triple billion targets and health related SDGs
- Urged every Member State to engage constructively and urgently in negotiations on the pandemic accord and the International Health Regulations, so the world will never again have to face the devastation of a pandemic like COVID-19
- Asked to support the increase in assessed contributions, as well as plans for an investment round in 2024
In my report to #WHA76, I urged @WHO Member States to:
1️⃣ work with us to achieve health related @GlobalGoalsUN
2️⃣ engage in #PandemicAccord & the Intl. Health Regulations negotiations
3️⃣support the increase in assessed contributions and plans for an investment round in 2024 pic.twitter.com/Tyb8H6EMAu
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 22, 2023
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.