Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly

20-28 MAY 2013 | GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

At a glance

Women’s and children’s health was in the spotlight at the sixty-sixth session of the World Health Assembly, with delegates from across the globe passing a resolution to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. By improving quality, supply and delivery of 13 underused commodities, countries can save 6 million women and children in the next five years.

The World Health Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization, is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the WHO Executive Board.

Under the agenda item “Promoting health through the life course,” the sixty-sixth session of the World Health Assembly included discussions focused on monitoring the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals and health in the post-2015 development agenda.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health hosted an exhibition booth and participated in a variety of side events on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, highlighting work with partners to improve women’s and children’s health around the world.

PMNCH and partners also seized the occasion to consult with WHO member states and other stakeholders gathered in Geneva on a first-ever global newborn action plan expected to be released at the next World Health Assembly in 2014.

Highlights

Day 1

  • UN Secretary-General highlights MDG success and role of universal health coverage in ensuring equitable access to health services
  • WHO Director-General calls for accelerated progress on the unfinished business of the health MDGs
  • WHO Member States discuss health in the post-2015 global development agenda

Day 2

  • The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation, and the President of the World Bank Group highlight link between health and development
  • World Bank Group President promotes universal health coverage as inextricably linked to goal of ending extreme poverty

Day 3

  • WHO Director-General applauds contribution made by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria towards progress on the health-related MDGs during a lunchtime technical briefing on the Fund’s New Funding Model
  • WHO Assistant Director-General of Family, Women's and Children's Health calls for concerted and coordinated action under the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health during a lunchtime panel focused on implementing the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities

Day 4

  • Delegates approve resolution to implement the recommendations of the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children

Day 5

  • The Assembly receives warning of the ongoing risk polio poses to children everywhere, with confirmation of a new outbreak in the Horn of Africa
  • Delegates endorse new Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 to secure a lasting polio-free world and urge donors to rapidly convert pledges made during the Global Vaccine Summit into contributions
  • Member States express ongoing commitment to universal health coverage and aspirations for a focus on universal coverage in the post-2015 development agenda

Day 6

  • Member states reaffirm their support for the Global Vaccine Action Plan to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to vaccines for people in all communities, and for a proposed Framework for Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability (linked to the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health)
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