Guterres Calls for ‘Continuous Political Commitment’ to World Health |
To do this, “wealthier countries and international financial institutions must support developing countries in making these critical investments,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Speaking at the opening of the World Health Summit in Berlin in a video message, he began by noting how ill-prepared much of the world is for crises. The annual meeting is hosted by the presidents of Germany, France and Senegal, as well as WHO CEO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Women are among the hardest hit. They have an increased burden of caring for their families and as frontline workers,” he said. But at the same time, many women have lost income due to job loss and inadequate social safety nets.
He said COVID and now food, energy and financial shocks caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threaten 17 Sustainable Development Goalsand efforts to reduce poverty.
He added that to achieve the SDGs, “we must redefine multilateralism and strengthen global cooperation.”
Failure of the developing world
He stated that there is too little investment in health and well-being and “an unbalanced global financial system is failing the developing world.”
“This has to change. All people need inclusive, equitable and equitable access to health services to achieve universal health coverage”, including neglected mental health services.
Taken together, good health is the foundation of a peaceful and stable society, he said.
A paradigm shift away from “care for the sick”: Tedros
In his speech at the opening ceremony, WHO chief Tedros said that to achieve the theme of “taking global health to the next level” in the coming year, this means three key priorities.
First, the new pandemic agreement being negotiated by and for countries was key so that the world can truly come together in the face of new pandemics on an equal footing with COVID-19.
“This will not give WHO any authority to do anything without the express permission of sovereign states,” he assured.
Secondly, a new “global architecture” is needed, “harmonized and inclusive”. The fragmented response to COVID has made it clear that new and better tools are needed to strengthen all of this.
Thirdly, a new global approach must be adopted that puts health promotion and disease prevention at the forefront, not just the treatment of the sick. Too many health systems, he said, “don’t provide care, they care for the sick.”
Health care should no longer belong to one ministry or sector, but to “the whole government and the whole society”.
Missing family in new role as goodwill ambassador
On Sunday, WHO chief Tedros announced the appointment of the Lacks family as WHO Goodwill Ambassadors for Cervical Cancer Elimination.
Henrietta Lacks, an impoverished African-American woman, died in 1951 from the disease, but left behind an extraordinary legacy thanks to the unique properties of her cancer cells, which became the first “immortal” cell line capable of reproducing outside the human body. providing countless medical breakthroughs since then.
The so-called HeLa cells were taken from her without her knowledge or consent: “Like the injustice of the Henrietta Lacks story, women around the world from racial and ethnic minorities face a disproportionately higher risk of cervical cancer,” Tedros said. .
Elimination of cervical cancer
“The goal of the WHO is to eradicate cervical cancer, which means that innovations created with its cells “should be available to all women and girls on an equal footing. We look forward to working with the Lacks family to raise awareness about cervical cancer and advance racial equity in health care and science.”
Speaking at a ceremony during the World Health Summit, Alfred Lacks Carter Jr. said the family is honored to serve as goodwill ambassadors “in the spirit of my mother Deborah Lacks, who lost her mother Henrietta to cervical cancer and has worked to for the world to recognize her influence.”