Neglected tropical diseases

The Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly enters its third day today. Yesterday’s session was marked by speeches of three invited speakers

Geneva | 21 May 2013

The Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly enters its third day today with discussions continuing on a mental health action plan 2013-2020, prevention of avoidable blindness, monitoring achievements of health-related Millennium Development Goals, the social determinants of health, health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory and financial matters relating to WHO.

Several other events are also being held in Committee rooms, see

In the evening, health ministers and high ranking public health officials from countries endemic for dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) meet to discuss progress towards the interruption of guinea-worm transmission and status of eradication. Cases of dracunculiasis reported to WHO have been progressively declining over the past year. Since the beginning of 2013, only 6 cases have been reported, with no case reported to WHO during the whole of January.

Yesterday’s session was marked by three key speeches.

The first one came from Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission who spoke of the importance of primary health care and universal health coverage and shared her vision of “healthy community, a healthy nation, and a healthy continent”.

Ms Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden highlighted the need for investment in health which she said is the only way to end poverty and the welfare of children and women.

The third speaker, Dr Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group spoke of the need to end poverty. He said it is only through improved and sustained health that prosperity and social welfare can take place. Dr Kim emphasized on the need to work together to achieve universal health coverage.