Federal Councillor Alain Berset opened the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) today in Geneva. Adoption of the biennial budget for 2020-2021 as well as universal health coverage with better access to medical services will be the focus of the Assembly, which will last from 20 to 28 May 2019. Federal Councillor Berset will also meet various health ministers for bilateral talks in Geneva.
More than half of the world’s population still has no access to primary health care. The topic of universal health care is therefore once again the focus of the World Health Assembly in Geneva this year.
Together with the health ministers of Afghanistan and the Central African Republic, Federal Councillor Berset will take part in an event initiated by Switzerland on "Partnerships to Strengthen Health Systems in Emergency Situations". Particularly in long-lasting armed conflicts and in other emergency situations, health care for the population will be limited. Improved approaches are therefore needed to maintain health care systems and prepare them for crises.
The agenda also includes adoption of the biennial budget for 2020-2021, which will make it possible to achieve the goals formulated in the 13th WHO work programme: improved access to primary care, more effective protection against health emergencies and a healthier life. Other topics include WHO’s ongoing institutional reforms and its greater involvement in the UN system. In addition to these events, Federal Councillor Berset will also meet with health ministers, including those from Botswana, Iran, Colombia and the Netherlands.
The World Health Assembly is the key decision-making body of the WHO. Every year in May, delegates of the WHO Member States meet in Geneva to review and define the topical, financial and organizational direction as well as future programmes.